New Collaboration Aims to Strengthen Journalism in Colorado

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Set to launch this fall, the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) is an “independent media resource hub” founded by 10 leading news media outlets in the state, offering newsrooms the opportunity to collaborate with each other in a physical space at the Rocky Mountain Public Media’s new Buell Center for Public Media in downtown Denver.

In anticipation of the launch, a response team made of up Colorado Independent journalists Susan Greene, editor, and Tina Griego, managing editor, was formed. The Independent is one of the COLab’s founding members.

Griego told E&P this collaborative will help newsrooms across the state report and write stories with statewide impact that they may not have the time, ability or staff to do on their own reporting. In addition, it will provide training to the journalists. Griego explained that the partnership was a result of a confluence of events, but the main reason was to “marry (their) strengths.”

“Over the last couple of years, there have been movements toward collaborations,” she said. “We don’t have the people power to practice journalism the way we did before, so, how do we support each other?”

Griego and Greene have already started reaching out to newsrooms (primarily Colorado Press Association members) and asking them what they can do to help. A form can also be found at coloradoindependent.com/colab. As part of this initiative, the website will also move to the COLab website this fall, formally shifting the organization from a daily news site to one that focuses on in-depth pieces.

The Independent first announced the partnership in April, which received an optimistic response. People were excited by the idea of utilizing the Independent’s power and its editor’s experience for the benefit of readers throughout Colorado, Griego said.

COLab partners have already developed several editorial projects together such as “COVID Diaries Colorado,” and “Parked,” an exploration of the mobile home industry spearheaded by the Colorado Sun in late 2019. Additional resources for Colorado journalists coming from COLab Newsroom partners this year include: Misinformation Watch Colorado, in partnership with First Draft News, helping journalists and the public root out online viral misinformation; Local Legal Initiative, helping Colorado newsrooms increase access to public information via a dedicated pro bono attorney via Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; and #FollowtheMoneyCO, helping journalists statewide track and report on money in politics this election season.

Looking ahead, Griego said collaboration is the way forward.

“We have to figure out how we can benefit from a model of scarcity,” she said. “We don’t have as many reporters as we did. We need to figure out how to keep informing the public, so some of this marriage is by necessity, and some of this is really creative thinking about how a print organization could work with a radio organization so that we are working on stories that matter to our audience…this is just another way to make the toolbox a little bit bigger with limited resources.”

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