A Growing Inventory of Journalism Collaborations

{NOTE: This list is now a bit dated, but I continue to work on issues surrounding journalism collaborations. Reach out on Twitter at @jcstearns to chat more about these issues}

News sharing, editorial collaborations, business partnerships – journalists and newsrooms are increasingly exploring new ways to collaborate. Some of these efforts are resulting in exciting new kinds of news, pushing stories beyond what could have been done by any one person, and producing more local news for communities. Others, however, are leading to further consolidation, newsroom layoffs and a notable decrease in the amount of local reporting in communities.

In seeking a way to organize, evaluate and better understand these collaborations and their impact on local news and local communities, I have begun breaking them up into categories (so far these categories include: News Sharing, Public/Private Partnerships, Public and Noncommercial Media Collaborations, and University News Partnerships). Obviously, there are other ways of organizing this, and many of these collaborations straddle multiple definitions. In the future I’ll be developing these ideas further and looking at these partnerships from different angles. (It’s also worth noting here that I am most interested in long term collaborations, not one-time partnerships, though I have included those when they are unique or notable.)

In the sections that follow I begin to outline a few of the most well known partnerships and collaborations. I have collected some, but many came from this initial post, collected from my Twitter followers and others. There is many more, I am sure, and I hope you’ll add others in the comments. (Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on my original post here: http://bit.ly/9qhqC2)

1) Commercial News Sharing

The Ohio News Organization: The eight largest papers in Ohio have partnered to share content, including sports coverage, state government and local events. While this partnership is based primarily on reprinting each other’s stories, the group has collaboratively funded some polling, which no one paper could have afforded alone, and then shared the results but wrote their own stories. (On The Media: http://bit.ly/98voWk)

Texas, Maine, Florida, and Maryland: In Texas the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram are sharing photos and concert reviews and have consolidated their delivery operations. In Maine, five papers launched a state-wide alliance similar to that in Ohio. Three major Florida papers, The Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post and Sun Sentinel are sharing stories, including longer feature stories. The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun are partnering on local Maryland reporting. (Editor and Publisher: http://bit.ly/153L6)

Fox and NBC: These stations are sharing one camera crew and consolidating equipment under one assignment desk in cities across the country. Currently Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, L.A., Dallas and Washington are included by Fox and NBC have plans to expand to new areas and to expand the partnership to radio and print properties. (USA Today: http://bit.ly/OANsd)

Hawaii: the CBS, NBC and MyNetwork affiliates in Honolulu combined to create the “largest television news operation” in Hawaii. The three news stations will now be housed in the same place, sharing reporters and editorial ideas, but they will broadcast from separate channels, appearing as distinct entities to viewers. Nearly 70 employees from the stations will lose their jobs. (http://bit.ly/abLQfL)

Sacramento: The Sacramento Bee debuts a local aggregation network connecting news orgs and bloggers. The network, called Sacramento Connect, “links the best of the Web for readers in the Sacramento area and more broadly in Northern California – sites and blogs you might not otherwise find.” (http://bit.ly/90iB8M)

Los Angeles: James Rainey of the LA Times reports “The merging of KCOP and KTTV TV has left the former not even a shell of its old self, unless beefcake and dancing anchors count. The losers: Angelenos who crave real, local news.” (http://bit.ly/977I5c)

Syracuse, NY and Peoria, IL: TVNewsCheck reports, “In Syracuse, Barrington’s NBC affiliate WSTM took over Granite’s CBS affiliate WTVH. Meanwhile, in Peoria, Granite’s NBC affiliate WEEK took over Barrington’s ABC affiliate WHOI. Technically, all four stations will continue to air news, but, in fact, two stations, WTVH and WHOI, have ceased to exist as independent journalistic enterprises.” (http://bit.ly/brKelG)

Washington State: News organizations in Washington State are using a Publish2 Newsgroup to collaborate on creating a link newswire of top regional news. The collaboration grew out of a state-wide news event in January 2009. When western Washington State was overcome by flooding, four newspaper newsrooms at four different media companies collaborated to roundup and share coverage of the flooding — both their own and coverage from other media sources around the state. (http://bit.ly/dAhBuo)

Ethnic Media: From the Pew State of the Media report, “One Vietnamese newspaper in Seattle, Nguoi Viet Tay Bac, established a content-sharing partnership with a Spanish-language paper and another Vietnamese paper. Also, a major African American newspaper, the Afro-American, collaborated with impreMedia’s Spanish-language publications on an editorial about the importance of health care legislation to minorities. New America Media, an advocate for ethnic news outlets, set up online collaborations between ethnic media organizations in Los Angeles and New Orleans.” (http://bit.ly/9lH8bX)

Seattle: From the Pew State of the Media report, “The Seattle Times is partnering with a number of local neighborhood blogs including westseattleblog.com to share links and collaborate on reporting. Other legacy news organizations are looking to become aggregators of community sites as a way to deliver more micro local news to their users (and increase their value to users in the process).” (http://bit.ly/a6zAJN)

2) Public/Private Partnerships

ProPublica: ProPublica works with a range of commercial and noncommercial news outlets. Their stories have appeared in the L.A. Times, New York Times, Washington Post and everywhere in between. A recent collaboration between This American Life, NPR’s Planet Money blog and ProPublica paired up for an in-depth story on the hedge fund Magnetar and its role int eh financial crisis.

The Media Consortium: The Media Consortium is a network of the country’s leading, progressive, independent media outlets. The coalition works to amplify independent media’s voice, increase their collective clout, leverage their current audience and reach new ones. The Media Consortium sponsors trainings, strategy, research, internships, collaborative blogs, newswires, and more. (http://bit.ly/P1qvn)

Voice of San Diego: Voice of San Diego has an ongoing partnership with local talk radio station 600AM KOGO where they produce a weekly on-air show and podcast. They also work with San Diego NBC who pays VOSD for two segments a week. Reporters and editors regularly contribute to the local public radio station KPBS. Finally, they also have a partnership with the Media Arts Center which produces video and citizen journalism parelell to content on the VOSD website. (Thanks @vosdscott)

Local editions: A range of national newspapers are partnering with local news start-ups, often nonprofit news orgs, to help fill the pages of their new local editions. The Bay Citizen: The new start up is working with San Francisco’s KQED and the UC Berkeley j-school as well as the New York Times. (http://bit.ly/2Zsy4Y) The Chicago News Collaborative is partnering with the New York Times under a similar arrangement in Chicago. The Chicago News Collaborative also partners with local public TV station WTTW. (http://bit.ly/2rSfPL)

Copenhagen News Collaborative: During the Copenhagen climate summit, a group of journalists from Mother Jones, The Nation, Grist, The UpTake, TreeHugger, and other news organizations have applied the collaborative newswire model to a major international news story, forming the Copenhagen News Collaborative to curate the best coverage from their own reporters, editors, and analysts covering the event.” (http://bit.ly/8xtTiU and http://bit.ly/brBSEk)

The Climate Desk: The Climate Desk is a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. The partners are The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, Mother Jones, Slate, Wired, and PBS’s new public-affairs show Need To Know. The Aim is to test out a new kind of distributed journalism—bringing together a group of reporting shops to brainstorm, assign, and share coverage. (http://bit.ly/9sQZxQ)

DocumentCloud: A Knight News Challenge funded nonprofit, DocumentCloud is both a repository of primary source documents and a tool for document-based investigative reporting. DocumentCloud is a web based tool that lets you can annotate docs, see lists of people and places named in documents, plot documents on a timeline and more. Their goal is to build tools that accelerate the work of reporters who need to make sense of large sets of documents. The project started with a collaboration between the New York Times and ProPublica but now includes close to 70 news organizations. (http://bit.ly/bC1MTA)

3) Public and Noncommercial Media Collaborations

The Investigative News Network: The Investigative News Network is a group of nonprofit journalism organizations that conduct investigative reporting in the public interest. It includes organizations from NPR, WNET.org and American Public Radio to new digital startups. It just launched its first collaborative report: “The Center for Public Integrity, NPR, and five regional nonprofit investigative organizations are publishing and airing national and local stories this week that reveal that students found responsible for sexual assaults on campus often face little or no punishment from school judicial systems.” (http://bit.ly/4XqTw6)

NPR’s Project Argo: The web based project is set up to coordinate in-depth journalism rooted in key local issues, but related to national concerns, across 12 participating public radio stations. Project Argo has dedicate staff and has added reporters to cover new beats at participating stations, including: KALW and KQED in San Francisco; KPCC in Pasadena, Calif.; KPBS in San Diego; KPLU in Seattle; Minnesota Public Radio; WAMU in Washington, D.C.; WBUR and WGBH in Boston; WNYC in New York; OPB; WXPN; and Wyoming Public Radio. (http://bit.ly/d9rpsT and http://bit.ly/2PuDtF)

The Texas Tribune: The Texas Tribune is partnering with the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Politics Project on a series of polls and with the university’s Center for Politics and Governance a lecture series, events and internships. They are also partnering with local NPR station KUT Radio, 90.5 to report on the Texas gubernatorial race. The Texas Tribune also partnered with Newsweek on a special edition on the state of Texas and has forged partnerships with 11 TV stations around the state. (Thanks @elisewho)

San Francisco Public Press: SF Public Press partnered with Dave Eggers’ literary magazine McSweeney’s for a special newspaper edition called the Panorama. The two organizations used Spot.Us to crowdsource an investigation into the multi-billion-dollar retrofit of the Bay Bridge. (http://bit.ly/30CdtF)

PBS Local Journalism Centers: CPB is funding the creation of seven Local Journalism Centers (LJCs). The Centers will form teams of multimedia journalists, who will focus on issues of particular relevance to each region; their reports will be presented regionally and nationally via digital platforms, community engagement programs and radio and television broadcasts. (http://bit.ly/dtMN8k)

The Public Media Platform: A project administered by NPR, in partnership with PBS, American Pubic Media, Public Radio International and Public Radio Exchange aimed at developing a flexible common platform for public media to facilitate the collection, distribution, and monetization of digital media content. (http://bit.ly/dtMN8k)

GRITtv with Laura Flanders/GRITGroup: GRITtv gives grassroots peace and justice organizations and organizers a place at the table, both in the studio, and also in the production process. In monthly meetings at the GRITtv office, members of “GRIT Group” share information and strategize with GRITtv producers Currently, GRIT Group is comprised of over 70 social justice, peace, labor and independent media organizations.GRIT Group provides member organizations an opportunity to develop long-term media strategies and collaborate across issue areas and geographically. All media made by GRIT Group members is distributed free to those members for them to use.

Economy Story: A collaboration of public media organizations are producing a wide range of stories and resources on the economy. EconomyStory.org collaborators include PRX, NPR, PBS, The NewsHour, Public Interactive, Marketplace, Capitol News Connection, Youth Radio, KQED, PRI’s The World, Nightly Business Report, and WNYC. Tools and resources created by the collaboration partners are available for public and station use, and many can be added as widgets to your web site or social networking page. (http://bit.ly/7EELvR)

Patchwork Nation: A partnership with PBS Newshour, Christian Science Monitor, and local bloggers. Using mapping, data analysis and straight reporting, Patchwork Nation uses their communities and community types to report on America’s politics, socioeconomics, and cultures. To help give a ground-level sense of the issues, they enlisted the help of local bloggers in each place. (http://bit.ly/84DAbr)

The Takeaway: The Takeaway is a national morning news program developed in partnership with The New York Times, BBC World Service, WNYC, Public Radio International and WGBH Boston. (http://bit.ly/qvkT)

Public Insight Network: The Public Insight Network is a a group of thousands of people who have agreed to help cover the news. The network is managed by American Public Media and used by journalists with shows like Marketplace, Marketplace Money, American RadioWorks and Weekend America as well as stations across the country and nonprofit news orgs like the St. Louis Beacon.  (http://bit.ly/3bQVxh)

KQED’s Quest: KQED’s QUEST is a new multimedia series about the people behind San Francisco Bay Area science and environmental issues. Includes local partnerships with libraries, museums, and educational organizations. (http://bit.ly/9pmF6w)

4) University News Partnerships

NYT and NYU: The New York Times and NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute are collaborating on a hyperlocal news site based on nytimes.com and covering the East Village in Manhattan (called, fittingly,  The Local: East Village). The site is edited and produced at NYU. (See: http://bit.ly/a7BCdN and http://bit.ly/b2oc36)

The Villager, News and Notes from Coconut Grove West: A University of Miami visual journalism professor launched a local news site with stories and visual documentaries generated by partners, which include journalism students, the Coconut Grove Collaborative (http://www.cgcollaborative.org/), the CG Homeowners Association (HOATA), a local health clinic and local residents. (J-Lab’s New Voices: http://bit.ly/14lDjl)

The Hechinger Report: The Hechinger Report was founded at the Teachers College at Columbia University to to provide in-depth coverage of national education issues on its own and in collaboration with other news organizations. Partners include Washington Monthly, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, U.S. News and World Report, Indianapolis Star, and others. (http://bit.ly/aAJWOy)

Intersections, The South Los Angeles Reporting Project:  The Annenberg School at the University of Southern California is creating a community news Web site for a region that is home to African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and immigrants. They are working with student-run Annenberg Radio and Television News and will partner with Mobile Voices, a USC Annenberg storytelling platform designed to help low-wage immigrants develop mobile media skills. (J-Lab’s New Voices: http://bit.ly/14lDjl)

GrossePointeToday.com: Wayne State University’s journalism program has recruited more than 20 displaced, retired and otherwise available professional journalists to write and edit content from citizen contributors and online journalism students at WSU and the University of Michigan-Dearborn for a full-service news and information site about Detroit’s five Grosse Pointes.  (J-Lab’s New Voices: http://bit.ly/14lDjl)

5) Legacy and Hyperlocal Collaborations

J-Lab Networked Journalism Collaboration: Five news organizations around the country have each agreed to work with at least five hyperlocal news sites or producers in their communities in a Networked Journalism pilot project to gather ideas and lessons for future content collaborations. (http://bit.ly/dsEbrC)


  1. elisehu says:

    Hi Josh, thanks for the mention. I would clarify in that we have eleven TV partners with commercial TV stations – network affiliates, and it’s not a claim, plenty of our work is on their broadcast airwaves.

  2. Julie Drizin says:

    Will you be tracking these collaborations? At least one listed above isn’t happening. Maryland Commons went out of business last summer. The project named might still be one, but the media partner is down for the count.

    Also, you might consider another category of Legacy + Hyperlocal collaborations, as illustrated by J-Lab’s Knight-backed Networked Journalism experiment in which MSM and community media start-ups in 5 cities are sharing funds and content. http://bit.ly/dsEbrC

    1. Josh says:

      Thanks Julie – I edited the Maryland Commons collab and added the Legacy-hyperlocal category. I had initially been thinking of those partnerships as commercial/noncommercial partnerships but, obviously many hyperlocals are not nonprofits. Thanks for the tip.

      Right now I am just trying to gather and keep updated a solid list. In the coming weeks I’ll be doing some more analysis on these various collaborations.

  3. Michael Griffin says:

    In Mpls.-St. Paul there are numerous community media collaborations and partnerships underway. The Twin Cities Media Alliance, which sponsors the Twin Cities Daily Planet community news website, was founded by Jeremy Iggers and others to promote and facilitate community media links and collaborations across the Twin Cities community press, community video organizations and citizen journalism. The TCDP is a real model for non-profit citizen journalism and community media collaboration.

    Mike Wassenaar at SPNN (St. Paul Neighborhood Network cable access television) has long been pursuing multiple community media connections and non-profit institutional collaborations, including outreach to the public schools, public and private colleges and universities, libraries and neighborhood youth organizations the traditional community press– (African American (Insight News), Latino (La Prensa) and Asian American newspapers (Asian American Press).

    Also in the Twin Cities, The Uptake is very active and is in the process of forging cooperative citizen journalism video efforts with Minnesota Public Radio, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, and other community media outlets.

    These are just a few examples of a cooperative community media ecosystem in Minnesota that seems to be gaining a foothold and offers exciting promise for the future. Of course, much of this depends on continuing attempts to secure and share resources.

  4. Ann Peters says:

    Another one to add to your list: the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a relatively young award-winning non-profit journalism organization with collaboration at the heart of our work. The Center treats coverage of systemic global issues as media campaigns, not one-off stories. We support journalists – whether freelance or staff – and commission original reporting projects to cover underreported stories from around the world. Next we pair that coverage with on-line and in-person programs we coordinate for students from middle school through university. Over the last year our collaborations have grown, foremost our work with PBS NewsHour, The Washington Post, Global Post, Frontline/World and the Copenhagen News Collaborative, as well as with dozens of other media outlets, new media platforms, NGOs and educators. And with students we urge them to make local connections to these global issues. Given that global-local focus, we’re very keen to collaborate even more with local media outlets and community partnerships. Feel free to connect with us! http://bit.ly/cuyK9B

  5. Vin Crosbie says:

    Josh, there’s been a commercial story-sharing system in place since 2000 by independently-owned dailies in Connecticut. It was originally setup by my younger brother, Kevin Crosbie, publisher of the Chronicle, Willimantic, Conn., who was then the president of the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association.

    He dropped AP at the Chronicle that year, replacing it with Reuters and LAT/WP. But for local stories he setup an arrangement with, as I recollect, the New London Day, Journal-Register, Meriden Record-Journal, and several other dailies competing with the Tribune Co., Gatehouse, and Journal-Register dailies in the Connecticut. Each paper can pickup and print the others’ stories provided that full credit is given.

    This commercial story-sharing, now in its tenth year, is the oldest in the country.

    1. Josh says:

      Thanks Vin – I’ll add it to the list.

  6. Matt Schafer says:

    Don’t forget New England Center, LSU, Berkley, Columbia in NY, and ASU/Arizona republic

  7. Yolanda Ma says:

    Hi Josh, I want to make a translation of this post to Chinese, as introducing more collaborative resources/cases to China. Will not be full text but following the list. Will put on my own blog and possibly on some other Chinese platforms focusing on digital development.Is it ok? Since you didn’t put CC license on your blog I want to get your permission first!

    And for myself: I am the social media editor in SCMP under Reg Chua.Native Chinese but college educated in HK.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s