Image taken from The Pulitzer Prizes media kit.

USA Today Network’s Pulitzer Prize for ‘The Wall’ marks another victory for collaborative journalism

The Wall joins several other collaborative projects that have been awarded Pulitzers in recent years

I was thrilled to see The Arizona Republic and The USA Today Network win a Pulitzer Prize this week for “The Wall,” and not just because it was a fantastic project that the Center for Cooperative Media helped support with a $7,000 reporting grant.

It was because it’s another example of the power of collaborative journalism.

The Wall now joins other impactful, jointly-reported stories that have also won Pulitzer in recent years, including:

Desert Sun reporter Gusatvo Solis (background, from left), Arizona Republic reporter Daniel González and Republic videographer David Wallace interview a human smuggler in Mexicali, Mexico. (Nick Oza/USA TODAY NETWORK)

This year, ProPublica — a longtime leader in collaborative journalism — was also a Pulitzer finalist for its collaboration with NPR on the series “Lost Mothers.”

As I mentioned above, the Center helped support The Wall with a $7,000 collaborative reporting grant, made possible with support from Democracy Fund and Rita Allen Foundation. Be sure to read our case study about The Wall, too.

Studying how collaborative journalism works and encouraging it across our industry is an important program and focus of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. Over the past two years, we’ve hosted a conference about collaborative journalism (the next one is coming up on May 10–11!), funded collaborative projects, released research examining models of collaboration and launched the first global database to track collaborative projects. We also are collecting research, best practices and stories about collaboration at collaborativejournalism.org.

Each time our industry recognizes collaborative work with awards like Pulitzer Prizes, it helps validate the practice and show other journalists that partnering can help them produce stronger work.

As Heather Bryant, founder of Project Facet, says, “The future of journalism is collaborative.”

These awards help show she’s right.


Stefanie Murray is director of the Center for Cooperative Media. Contact her at murrayst@montclair.edu.

Disclosure: Stefanie Murray’s husband works for The USA Today Network.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Democracy Fund. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.