Module JG080

Collaborative Journalism

Module author

Tanni Haas

City University of New York

Learning objectives After studying this module, you will be able to:
  • Define collobarive journalism and explain this journalistic genre;
  • Explain who exactly collaborates and how;
  • Give an overview of the historic development of the genre, including key persons who established this genre;
  • Reflect this genre critically.
Study point 1
Reading extract Collaborative Journalism


Why Open School of Journalism believes that Collaborative Journalism is important zu know

Collaborative journalism involves the process of devising a single news story from a number of different sources. These sources may include gathering information from individuals or organizations. Information may also be gathered when other readers examine and comment on the stories. In general, a single collaborative news story may involve numerous authors and articles. 

Many amateur reporters prefer collaborative news articles because it's easier to compile with multiple people working on it rather than one person. Amateur blog posts may often be used to complement reporting. Collaborative journalists contribute directly to stories in a wiki-style collaborative platform. 


What are the differences to "everyday" journalism? 

Collaborative journalism is thought by some to offer "increased independence of thought." Why? Because everyone has different life experiences that they can add to the table. Collaborative journalists have the experience to examine a story one piece at a time, which is very different from having piece with a deadline. 

Many collaborative journalists will contribute directly through wiki-style collaborative platforms. The stories can be built upon externally, and the revisions can be made in real-time. 

Collaborative journalism differs from citizen journalism. This is practiced by amateur reporters who work constantly to develop stories through active reporting, analyzing, and collection of information. It is also not civic journalism or community journalism. For instance, community journalism involves focusing on smaller communities and neighborhoods. Whereas civic journalism, focuses on the act of professional journalists taking an active role in the community rather than just observing the news.

Link journalism is a form of collaborative journalism that incorporates external links within a story. These links are included to enhance, complement, or add context to original reporting. 


Are there any key persons who developed this approach? What were their reasons? 

Successful collaborative journalist sites include Wikinews and Washington Post. The Washington Post provides links to local newspaper, radio broadcasts, and online videos. Many collaborative websites were afraid to link to other websites in the past because the source may be deemed unreliable and the readers may not return. Now, more people are more open to this approach. 

Many other sites like the Associated Press will combine user-generated stories with blog posts. Reddit is another collaborative journalism site that's been quite effective for people who choose it. Keep in mind that some stories require a discreet reporting technique. In this instance, collaborative reporting is not a good idea. 

There have been some good and bad comments made about collaborative projects, but quality is a difficult concept to assess. Since the facts come from many different sources, the quality of reporting and writing vary. However, some good stories have come from collaborative reporting.