“A young man working on a laptop while seated on a ledge in a city during sunset” by Avi Richards on Unsplash

How collaborative journalism sets newsrooms up for remote employees

Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton recently suggested that media companies should open up a second headquarters somewhere besides New York and Washington, D.C. Among the reasons, he wrote, is that “New York is expensive as hell” and “your journalism will be better,” pointing out that “You’ll see different stories, meet different people, run in different circles.” He writes:

“Some portion of these goals can be met by being more open to remote work. And some media companies do embrace that idea, which lets people’s where-to-live decision detach from their where-to-work decision. That’s great! But many companies either reject the idea of remote work or reserve it for its biggest stars (who have the leverage to move to the country anyway) or for technologists who they feel can operate well at a distance. But some people don’t want the only alternative to a Manhattan high-rise to be their spare bedroom or the Starbucks downtown. People like having colleagues, and it’s hard for a spread-out collection of individual employees to serve as a significant counterweight to the culture of the New York office.”

I wrote something similar last year in Poynter: “We have tools now for remote meetings and remote document collaboration and remote project management. Why does your entire masthead live in New York or D.C.? There’s simply no need for this in 2016, and having different perspectives on an ongoing basis will diversify coverage and the way we write about our sources.”

Journalism organizations that have worked collaboratively with other organizations have already used many of these tools that make remote collaboration a lot easier. In the collaborative database, you can read exactly what remote-friendly tools projects have used for chatting in real time, sharing screens, managing tasks, and sharing resources between organizations.

Installing another bureau or making it easier for existing employees to work remotely would rely on many of the same tools, which you’ve likely already tested if you’ve collaborated with another newsroom.


Visit the Collaborative Journalism Database!

A small update on the Collaborative Journalism Database: we’ve now input information on 150 journalism collaborations between more than 1100 organizations across the world.

Is your project listed? If not, please tell us about it. Is the information about your project incomplete? Let us know; email Melody at melodykramer@gmail.com. Are there fields missing you’d like to see us add, or other ways to sort that you think would be useful?

Email the Center at info@centerforcooperativemedia.org. We’re using Airtable right now, but are still considering what the best way will be to display the treasure trove of data we’re collecting.



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