What we would like to do

Every local investigative newsroom publishes successful stories, articles, longreads, video and podcasts. But how did they get there? How did they select their subjects and more important, how did they do their research? Most of the time this remains hidden behind the walls of the editorial newsroom.

After all the sessions about local investigative research at the Dataharvest conference in Mechelen (BE) the question arose: is there a network of local newsrooms where we can share knowledge and experiences?  

The Bureau of Local Affairs would like to help here. We developed a secure digital collaboration workspace for local investigative journalists in the Netherlands and Belgium. This workspace can be turned into an international platform for local newsroom. In this workspace local newsrooms can present successful research and make a blueprint (or scenario) for other local journalists to use. What methods and techniques were applied, which tools were used. Newsrooms can share research documents and contacts in the field. And above all they can discuss and chat within the workspace to assist each other in the research process.  
Every newsroom can make use of their own editorial workspace with different research projects (subspaces) that they can share with other newsrooms. They can choose who they want to share it with. In this way also crossing border investigative research can be organized.

Possibilities
Coordinated Coverage
It’s getting harder for any local newsroom to be capable of sufficiently covering a complex story by itself.
Coordinating coverage across local newsrooms for thorough expert coverage that preserves local perspective is a high-impact form of collaboration.

Parallel Reporting
The partners are working on the same story, but they are working on different outputs.

Joint Reporting
Journalists from different newsrooms can be working together on the same final product. It leads to stories reflecting a greater depth of knowledge and a wider, more diverse set of sources contributed by each reporter.

Source Referral
Every reporter has his or her won network of people for expertise, context and reality checks. Helping out fellow journalists with connecting them to quality sources is a low-cost form of collaboration.

Tool sharing
Within the workspace some investigative tools can be utilized, such as embedded web applications. Sharing external tools can be done in a repository, including hands-on tips for the use of these tools.

Content Distribution
One of the most potentially powerful forms of collaboration with the least amount of extra effort is sharing content with another newsroom to publish on their platforms. For small and local publishers, this is a way to put stories in front of a bigger audience.

Safety
The workspace can be serving as a safety or backup to newsrooms/journalist in areas/situations where they cannot work safely. The secure server can provide a save environment for journalist to work without someone looking over their shoulder.

Coordinated FOIA /Lawsuits
Newsrooms can support each other, or freelancers in information requests. Governments and companies are working harder than ever to limit access to information. Supporting each other in ensuring access is of vital importance.

Local investigative newsroom in Europe who would like to collaborate in this project can contact us.