media update’s Jenna Cook reveals three ways how journalists can cut through the information silos, and start working as a team.

Journalism is an industry notorious for covering all forms of news – from politics and business to sports and celebrities. And the more reporting there is on these subjects, the easier it becomes for these stories to fall into silos of information. 2018 is the time for journalists to report stories that cut across these silos.

What are information silos? As you might imagine, an information silo is what occurs when data is not shared between subjects. Or in layman’s terms, when the information acquired by a journalist is not shared with others. And in journalism, this means that important insights – that have the potential to inform a multitude of stories – only capture one point of view.

The point of breaking down these silos it to create a story with a multitude of news angles, crossing over the traditional bounds of reporting, to produce a piece that is valuable and cannot fit solely into one information silo.

Here are three ways to disrupt the silos:

1. Collaborate and share industry knowledge

In 2018, cutting across these information silos is no longer a luxury – it’s a matter of survival for many journalists.

The information age has birthed many innovations that are capable of transforming the way reporting takes place. Journalists now have the chance to add drones, virtual reality and even AI robot writers to their reporting arsenal.

As technology evolves, so will the need for journalists who are practiced across a multitude of these disciplines.

Ron Waksman, vice president at Global News, says, “The best people [to report] are those who’ve had a foot in both worlds. Having a blend of talent from different backgrounds promotes creativity and keeps the journalists from getting stuck in a rut.”

Encouraging journalists to collaborate and share their knowledge can lead to new, more insightful and encompassing stories that cut across a number of subjects and even mediums.

2. Communicate effectively with other journalists

There has never been a time when communicating is as simple and effective as it is now. And journalists can use this to their advantage.

“There’s no such thing as over-communication, and it’s a mistake to assume that we are always speaking the same language to each other,” says Steve Ladurantaye, managing editor at CBC Digital.

“When a story is assigned, each journalist brings their ideas and outlines their respective needs to make the greatest impact. When one of them is not at the table, messages get missed, work is duplicated and someone often ends up playing catch-up.”

“More people attend quick ‘stand-up’ meetings at the start of each digital shift and that has led to sharing between teams throughout the day and night.”

When journalists are able to effectively communicate their ideas to one another, finding the best way to get a story done becomes much easier. It also allows for each member of the reporting team to know exactly what is expected of them.

3. Cross over different industry roles

It is not uncommon in today’s newsrooms for radio journalists to be carrying cameras, bloggers to be recording podcasts and newspapers to be making award-winning video productions.

When journalists come together, they learn about how fulfilling different roles in the industry can lead to the success of their stories.

General manager at CTVNews Lis Travers says, “We introduced a cross-department orientation programme. We matched online writers with broadcast writers, digital content editors with the resource department, editors and graphic designers.”

“Each [department] spent time learning about the other’s job and sharing organisational tips. They learned how much it could help them with their own jobs.”

“Tools each side took for granted became an enormous help to the people who did not regularly use them. Duplicate assignment lists became a co-production. There was less wasted time and more collaboration.”

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Virtual reality is taking journalism from ‘storytelling’ to ‘story-living’. Find out how in our article, Immersive journalism: Is this the future of reporting?
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy