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Comparing Models of Collaborative Journalism (Sept. 29, 2017)

Foreword: For journalism in general, but for local news and information providers in particular, the last decade has been one of resource scarcity, uncertainty, and rapid technological development. In the U.S., as in many Western democracies, consolidation and cost-cutting have resulted in dramatic losses for local journalism in all but the largest cities (e.g. Shaffer and Doherty, 2017; Starr, 2009). Within this context, many surviving local journalism outlets have turned to collaborative journalism as a way to share data and stretch limited resources, while also providing what are often more comprehensive stories to bigger audiences. As many are realizing, the digital age has created technological affordances that make collaboration easier than ever before. This report identifies and compares six models of collaborative journalism that span collaborations from the hyperlocal to the international levels. We provide examples of each model, and discuss common costs and benefits for each. Identifying and describing the different models of collaborative journalism is of use to journalists, funders, and scholars alike. Further, the project points to a bright spot in journalism, and highlights one of the ways that news and information providers are finding their way forward in the digital age.

Layoffs in Local Newsrooms: Documenting the changing New Jersey local journalism ecosystem, 2016-17 (March 17, 2017)

Summary: New Jersey saw significant cuts to its journalism corps in 2016. This was primarily due to the acquisition of North Jersey Media Group by Gannett Co. and ensuing layoffs, although other media organizations contracted as well. This report seeks to document the North Jersey layoffs, and to provide more detail about who and what was lost to the local journalism ecosystem in the process. For example, in a small survey of laid-off journalists conducted in December 2016, we find that nearly half had more than 20 years of experience covering local communities. We also ask the most important question: what impact did these layoffs have on the news and information provided by these outlets? In a comparison of four newspapers before and after the takeover, we find clear evidence of decreases in substantive community news and information. We conclude with strategic recommendations for interventions and strengthening the local journalism ecosystem.

 

Sarah Stonbely, Ph.D. is the research director of the Center for Cooperative Media. She can be reached at stonbelys@montclair.edu.

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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.

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