For years, journalistic culture revered closely held, shoe-leather reporting that drove excellence through a heightened sense of competitiveness. News organizations measured success not in their ability to drive revenues (because that was a given) but in their ability to beat the other guy. Break exclusives. Win awards.
The prevalent thinking was that the people benefited when news outlets competed. It was a time when cooperation with other news organizations was viewed with suspicion and scorn.
Then came the Internet and with it massive disruption in the business models that supported American journalism and which precipitated the greatest gross loss of journalists ever experienced in the profession.
Today, we are more likely to get a news story from an app or website without regard for who wrote it and how it gets paid for. And why not? We appear to have far more news sources today than ever before. Convenience and usability are far bigger deciding factors in where er get our news than trust in the reporter or organization that delivered it.
In response, traditional news organizations have cut back on their dedicated reporting staff and relied more heavily on cheaper, commoditized news from fewer and fewer sources. As a result, the content is less differentiated, less specific to the community that is being served and, therefore, less useful and important. It is a vicious cycle and a sad story that has appeared way too many times on the pages of this publication and others like it.
There is another, viable and increasingly effective way: collaboration.