Several basic partnership models have emerged in the growing collaborative journalism ecosphere, writes the Free Press's Josh Stearns on MediaShift. There are commercial partnerships, often contractual agreements among newspapers and TV stations; nonprofit and commercial agreements, such as the recent NBC-pubmedia partnerships (Current, Jan. 17); public and noncom collaborations, connecting pubmedia outlets with one another or with other nonprofit news organizations (Current, March 30, 2009); university collaborations; and community and audience cooperative work, including APM's Public Insight Network (Current, Jan. 24, 2011).
"We are still at the early stages of experimentation with large- and small-scale collaboration across the news and journalism ecosystem," Stearns writes. "Partners differ, motivations differ, needs differ and funding differs. This list isn't meant to suggest that news organizations only draw lessons from partnerships that most closely resemble their own — indeed quite the opposite is true: We should be drawing on the lessons from across models, but we should do so with an awareness of the unique context of each collaboration."