Database of collaborative journalism projects now available in Portuguese and Spanish

Journalists in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries can now access a database of collaborative journalism in their local languages. The Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University in the United States translated the platform that lists projects born of cooperation between newsrooms so that more Latin American professionals can be inspired by their examples.

Stefanie Murray, director of the Center for Cooperative Media, explains that since the initiative was created two years ago, journalists from various countries have contacted the Center for help with their own collaborative projects. The translation is an attempt to provide resources of support to people outside the U.S.

“Collaboration is becoming common outside of the U.S., and so it was a natural next step for us to translate our database into additional languages to help it grow and become useful to other journalists,” Murray told the Knight Center. “Given the high number of Spanish-speaking journalists in the U.S. and around the world, we know we wanted to translate the database into Spanish to start with.”

The database gathers detailed information on 176 collaborative journalism projects. It is possible to see examples of the tools and financing used in each occasion, in addition to understanding the impact generated by the works and to see the prizes received by the collaborations.

The idea is that the number of entries will increase with collaboration from the public. The forms to add new projects to the database have also been translated into Spanish and Portuguese.

"We’re confident that having this resource available in multiple languages will really help us grow the database and provide support to projects around the world,” Murray said.

The translation work was done by Guilherme Amado, vice president of the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) and investigative reporter for the newspaper O Globo. He spent a year researching collaborations as JSK Fellow at Stanford University in the U.S. There, Amado realized that one of the main barriers to collaboration between newsrooms is cultural.

The collaborative journalism database gathers information about projects between newsrooms, including information about financing and prizes. (Screenshot)

"Initiatives like this database are essential because they disseminate the culture of collaboration in journalism with examples of successful collaborations at different scales," he told the Knight Center. "(In Latin America) there is a question of linguistics. There is a 'Treaty of Tordesillas' that makes collaboration (of Spanish-speaking countries) with Brazilian journalism less frequent," he said, referring to the agreement that separated the Americas between Spain and Portugal.

Fortunately, the collaborative spirit has become stronger in the Americas, according to Amado. He cites as an example the coalitions to combat disinformation, such as Brazil's Projeto Comprova and Mexico's Verificado2018, as well as the most recent transnational work of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), The Implant Files.

For him, this movement for greater collaboration was encouraged by organizations such as the Press and Society Institute (IPYS). Amado believes, however, that cooperation between Latin American newsrooms can go even further, on a local, national or even continental scale. The advantages, according to the journalist, are many: increase in the diversity of voices, improvement in quality and accuracy of information and reduction of costs.

There are many themes in Latin America that can be the basis of transnational collaborations, such as the Amazon and even Latin music, Amado said. "These stories are waiting for reporters to tell," he said. "But with the reduction of funds from large outlets, the chance to send Brazilian journalists is much lower. But collaboration can be the answer to telling stories well that need an international point of view."