In 2020, collaboration in journalism is about way more than sorting through data together or expanding a story’s reach. Now, collaborative journalism means sharing power among journalists, readers and viewers, community partners, scientists, and more — delivering information that centers and addresses people’s voices and needs, together. The pandemic has elevated the need for robust collaborative and local journalism to tackle a story of this size and specificity. But it’s also reinforced the importance of seeding collaborations with equity and respect, recognizing the unequal effects of COVID-19 on our communities.
Over the past month, 30 states have made journalism an essential service in their disaster declarations, putting local news outlets on par with hospitals and grocery stores. It makes sense: local news is how we find out about stay at home orders and whether our nearby hospital has tests available. But there is a troubling irony to this moment: The coronavirus — while creating a need for strong local news — has ignited an economic crisis that could wipe out huge swaths of journalism in America.