Collaborative Journalism Summit Highlights New Ideas for Impactful Reporting

One of the most important goals of this year’s Collaborative Journalism Summit, which took place on May 4 and 5, was to spur new ideas for future reporting projects that could produce meaningful, impactful journalism.  And, according to the Center of Cooperative Media’s Director, Stefanie Murray, “what a week it was.”  More than 170 reporters and editors, plus about two dozen students, attended the event to learn new and creative ways to report groundbreaking stories by partnering with news organizations.

The summit was a well-timed conversation, given the fact that collaborative journalism and cooperative news networks are gaining more attention now in the industry.  That’s because of several reasons, such as how collaborative efforts produced major impact, such as coproducing reporting projects, which have won several Pulitzer Prizes in the last two years, and the Panama Papers, the largest single collaboration in history in Electionland.  Electionland was a ProPublica project that covered access to the ballot and the problems that prevented people from exercising their right to vote during the 2016 election.

During the summit, the center also created a pop-up newsroom, a temporary virtual newsroom that springs to life to cover events around the world.  The Center’s pop-up newsroom was created on site with a dozen communication and journalism students filing stories from the conference using the Evrybit app ( http://getevrybit.com/).  According to its website, Evrybit is an all-in-one app for mobile reporting and storytelling built by professional journalists that anyone can use.  It’s a way to organize your reporting and storytelling into one stream using text, photo, video and audio content.  Evrybit was also a conference sponsor.

The center also announced it is launching an open funding call for collaborative reporting projects.  Three projects will be selected to win a $7,000 grant, thanks to the generosity of the Rita Allen Foundation.  (http://ritaallen.org/)  Murray says, “We’re launching this open call because we think there’s never been a more important time than now to leverage collaborative reporting and build cooperative networks to expand reach and deepen access for journalists around the world – with the goal of holding truth to power and ultimately more quickly exposing solutions to problems in our society.”

Murray believes an important take-away from the two-day event was that working together in the public interest can achieve greater results than working alone in our own interests.  “I think most folks left the summit energized about the industry’s ability to do really amazing journalism by rethinking how we interact with each other and becoming more open to partnership.”