Best Practices and Guides

A collection of guides, tip sheets, and best practices for collaboration

This site is a collection of guides and workbooks created to help newsrooms design and manage effective, equitable and meaningful collaborative journalism projects in the service of communities.  If you have one to share, let us know! Email info@centerforcooperativemedia.org.

The latest:

As this field matures, we wanted to know: What’s working to generate revenue and sustain journalism collaborations, beyond philanthropy?

To answer this question, the Center for Cooperative Media, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Solutions Journalism Network conducted a survey, interviewed collaborative project managers, funders and ecosystem support staff from around the country, and ultimately identified eight innovative examples of collaborative revenue experiments in progress to share with you. These experiments range from new reader revenue streams to newsletter sponsorships, monetizing events and sharing back-office services.

In this guide, we curate some of the top resources available to project managers and newsrooms today to help you put these ideas into action. Throughout, we share templates you can use in your own work.

We hope you find this toolkit useful in advancing your own collaborative journalism — both now and for the long haul. We plan to continue to update the guide with additional resources. Please fill out this short form if you’d like to share any ideas or lessons you’ve learned that we should include.

Download the full revenue guide (PDF).

The goal of Project Manager Playbook for Collaborative Journalism, created by Caroline Porter, is to identify the role of the collaboration manager, the person who oversees the day-to-day operations of a journalism collaborative.

In this way, the role of the collaboration manager stands out for its wide-ranging scope and opportunity to flex different skill sets. Reflecting the diverse shapes that these roles can take, you’ll see variety in title, time commitment, scope, requirements and responsibilities with these roles. We use the phrase “collaboration manager” in the playbook but we include the examples of collaboration directors, editors and other titles.

The playbook includes three profiles of collaborative leaders: Nick Charles, Dana Coester and Vanessa de la Torre. In addition, there are sample job descriptions, key characteristics and more ways to make sense of these roles and how you might envision yourself in a collaborative role.

Whether you are a mid-career journalist looking for a new way to use your industry skills and experience or you are a journalism student considering your potential place in the field, this playbook is for you. If you do not fit into either of those categories, this playbook is also for you.

Download the full playbook (PDF).

Collaborative Journalism Kit

Thanks to support from the Rita Allen Foundation, the Center surveyed the country’s leading collaboration managers to help create the toolkit above for improving collaborative efforts and addressing the most common questions we’re all trying to answer.

You can download the PDF of each by clicking the links above, or you can see them all online at collaborativejournalismhandbook.org.

A Collaborative Playbook from Solutions Journalism Network and the Reentry Project

Solutions Journalism Network is a non-profit organization whose mis-sion is to advance solutions journal-ism, the practice of reporting with equal rigor not only on challenges and problems but also on responses with a proven track record of effectiveness.

Click here to read the playbook.

Collaborative journalism workbook

Also at the 2018 Collaborative Journalism Summit, Heather Bryant of Project Facet unveiled a workbook for collaborative projects. This workbook will help you get in the weeds and think through practical considerations for your project.

Click here to access the workbook.

Tips for successful news publishing partnerships

With many local newsrooms trying to do more with less these days, looking outside your newsroom to partner with other local news publications can have the effect of having a larger, more diverse staff that can cover more topics, more areas of your region, and be more representative of your community.

Click here to access this guide from the News Media Alliance.

Collaborative playbook

At the 2018 Collaborative Journalism Summit, the Solutions Journalism Network and Resolve Philadelphia previewed the new “Collaborative Playbook,” which is based off the work done as part of the ReEntry Project by Resolve Philadelphia. The playbook is a great high-level look at setting up a collaborative.

Click here to access The Collaborative Plavbook.

Roadmap for local news collaborations

The Bureau Local is a people-powered network setting the news agenda and sparking change, from the ground up. This brief roadmap includes information about the three basic steps to setting up a local news collaboration.

Click here to access the roadmap (PDF).

Tip sheets for collaborative journalism

The tip sheets in featured here are pulled from Dr. Sarah Stonbely’s seminal report, “Comparing Models of Collaborative Journalism,” and should provide useful advice and best-practices for each of the six collaborative journalism models studied in the report.

Click here to view the tip sheets.