Wick Communications

The future is collaboration

In Innovation on May 11, 2017 at 2:06 pm

When I got into the business 1,426 years ago, “cooperation” was a cuss word and “collaboration” was just plain blasphemy.

When newspapers were fiefdoms that had a monopoly over the means of production of news, we were knights of the realm. We jousted with competitors. We donned our figurative chainmail armor and we sought to tame our rivals. We beat the other guy — to the source, to the document, to the story. We wanted scoops and exclusives. We (often wrongly) thought that readers appreciated this fighting spirit. It was a whole lot of fun.

Those days are largely over. It’s still fun to score a scoop, as the Green Valley News did with the source of the Sawmill fire. But it’s not the burning core of our business model. More and more, we will be collaborating to accomplish things we can’t do alone. That is because we don’t have the resources we once did and also because everyone is a publisher. No one is waiting for us to get around to tell his or her story.

Media consultant Tim Griggs does a wonderful job laying out the opportunities and challenges of the cooperative ventures we need in his longish post at Nieman Lab. If you do nothing else, scroll down to the part about localization. I say that because that is an age-old concept that doesn’t really require cooperation, but would enrich our papers bigly. Add context. Use a national story as a springboard for your own. Localize the data. …

I encourage you to seek your own interesting partnerships in your market. Is there a radio station with which you might partner? What if you called the managing editor of the regional daily in your area and proposed a joint project? Explain what value you bring to that story. Then tell us how you brought your readers a story that is vastly more fulfilling than one you would have told all by yourself.

Clay

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