Working In Indterdisciplinary Teams

Journalists with different skill sets have always collaborated within discreet organizations. In newspaper newsrooms, reporters, photographers, information graphics artists, and page designers collaborate daily to cover stories. Broadcast news organizations frequently send reporters and videographers on assignments together. And most agree stories that effectively combine words and visuals are often more powerful than those presented in a single story form.

However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that collaboration across print, broadcast, and online organizations began to occur regularly. This phenomenon was quickly dubbed “media convergence.” And the early part of the 21st Century was consumed with assessing how newspaper and broadcast organizations could coordinate efforts to achieve cross-platform news coverage. More recently, efforts at multimedia storytelling have focused on how newspapers and broadcast stations can better harness the power of their own Web sites by employing multiple story forms online.

This chapter will explore the role of collaboration in multimedia storytelling both within and among news organizations. We will look at different levels of collaboration, how media convergence has evolved, collaborative processes, and how you can prepare yourself to work with partners from different disciplines.

Topics Covered

Media convergence
With the rise of media convergence and the attention most news organizations now give to their Web products, communications professionals must be adept at producing content that emphasize the importance of multimedia storytelling and cross- platform publication (i.e., print, broadcast, online, mobile, etc.).

Knowing your craft and collaborating with others
When working in teams, journalists must learn to speak a common language to fully conceptualize stories with all forms of media in mind. Now more than ever, we must all understand how to work together in ways that make the story more meaningful.

Best practices in collaboration
Part of being a good collaborator has more to do with diplomacy than anything else. Getting along with others often has less to do with how nice or accommodating you are and more to do with your ability to adapt. Good communicators often work hard to assess someone else’s personality and then adapt communication styles accordingly.

Honoring the story
Establishing a workflow with everyone on board is essential to keeping track of the people and the content that will comprise your project. Once a team has been established, it’s important to outline expectations and processes such as, assignments, meeting times and file management in order to work effectively and meet your deadline.