How can local and investigative journalists collaborate better?

min read

It is often a challenge in the media business to produce successful collaborations and cooperation between journalists, especially when it comes to journalists from different media. Even without the many problems journalism is facing today, it is also a competitive profession, where many times opportunities for cooperation are lost somewhere between “who gets the news first” and “whose story is better”.

But if we manage to get past that, and also find the necessary conditions for support and cooperation, we can see that some of the best journalism stories in the media business are born from cooperation between journalists or journalistic teams. If this is done between journalists from different cities, regions or countries even, the results for a high-quality investigative journalism stories can be amazing.

There is a large space for improvement and media development when it comes to strengthening the ties between investigative journalists and local journalists or local investigative journalists. So many of the stories, if not most of them, are written for problems and challenges faced by the capital city, and a lot of the things that matter in other regions, or smaller cities and villages are ignored or marginalised in the media. Good collaborations with local journalists and local media can change these trends and offer new fresh perspectives with important stories that matter to the public.

Strengthening ties with local journalists

Enhancing contacts and ties with local journalists is very useful for making good investigative stories, but also for good networking and cooperation.

Local journalists know a lot about many of the happenings in their city or region, and many times have fresher information than those that don’t work and live there.

Through regular meetings, non-formal gatherings and events or initiatives, contacts between local and investigative journalists can thrive and relationships can be built, forming trust for future work. These ties can be the ground on which future stories or projects are built, where local journalists are more included in investigations or analyses on a variety of important issues in our society. Visiting local journalists and local media in order to get a better view on challenges that exist, is also very important for any investigative journalist that wants to build more connections and improve their work.

Include young journalists from other cities in the work 

In the past few years, in our media organisation PINA, we have found that it is of great value for youth, for journalism and for civil society, to find and include more young journalists in the work process and the stories that we do. This goes not only for young journalists that work in the capital, but also for those that live in other cities. Through mentoring and working with these young people in media, we see that the experience truly changes them and builds them as journalists, but also it helps us to get to new stories and content that we would not be able to have, if it's not them reporting on it. We work with young reporters by offering them mentorship opportunities and practical work with coverage of stories that they do, but also involve them in teams that include another journalist and a mentor. The proposals sometimes come from our side, but many times local journalists also give great ideas for stories that focus on important challenges for the people that live there.

It is great when there is openness to do these collaborations with local media, but also we need to keep in mind that freelance journalism strives on cooperation so we can look for partners in local journalists as well, many of whom are active freelancers. All of these opportunities can improve the cooperation between colleagues in journalism and have an impact not only on improving relationships between working journalists, but also on raising the quality of journalism in general.

Kristina Ozimec is an investigative journalist from Skopje and president of the Platform for Investigative Journalism and Analyses – PINA. She is also Head organizer of the Media Festival Skopje.

She is specialized in covering different areas like politics, corruption, rule of law, human rights, civil society and education. Ozimec has won multiple awards for her investigative stories and has been commended for her professional coverage of issues concerning the marginalized communities and human rights.

She has conducted training sessions and lectures about investigative journalism and media. She is a coordinator of two programs in PINA – Program for women journalists and Program for mobile journalism, and a coordinator of the program – Young Journalists Network. Kristina is a journalism graduate of Iustinianus Primus Faculty of Law in Skopje.

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