An online network enhances global journalistic collaboration

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Cooperation instead of concurrence: The global cooperation network for journalists, journalistic bloggers and documentary filmmakers Hostwriter started two years ago in Germany. It aims at providing easy access to professionals in the media sector who can use it for sharing contacts, planning collaborative research, or even offering a place to stay. Up to now it connects more than 1500 members from 89 countries and is constantly growing.

Membership

Every member needs to apply for accreditation in order to join Hostwriter. This is a guarantee that only journalists, journalistic bloggers, journalism students and documentary filmmakers can become members. It is a non-profit platform designed by journalists for journalists. However, this does not mean that the work of a colleague is free of charge. The founders of the platform highly recommend to talk about the remuneration before teaming up for collaborations. If you collaborate with a colleague, the rules of collegiality and fairness suggest that you share not only the journalism expertise but the money as well, to make your cooperation profitable for both sides. Those and other guidelines are included in the Hostwriter’s code of ethics as stated in the terms of use which every member has to accept. In case of abuse, members have the option to report violations to keep the network as ethical as possible.

Join Hostwriter

The idea for the project was initiated by three German journalists – Tamara Anthony, Tabea Grzeszyk and Sandra Zistl have developed Hostwriter on an honorary basis. They have managed to attract financial support from several German foundations and nongovernmental organizations, such as Medienstiftung Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein, Rudolf Augstein Stiftung, Vocer Innovation Medialab and StartSocial.

A network of ambassadors and partners

In order to reach larger number of journalists from all over the globe, the platform relies on its ambassadors who would like to spread the word about Hostwriter in their home countries. Everyone who is interested in joining the team can get in touch with the founders via news(at)hostwriter.org.
Hostwriter works with over 33 partner organizations in Germany and Europe. Their list includes Reporters without Boarders, N-ost, Deutsche Journalistenschule, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, City University London, etc.

Financial support for mutual journalistic projects

In addition to promoting the exchange between journalists, Hostwriter also supports cooperation through financial aid. The platform has its own blog where various collaborative work is being presented. In order to encourage more mutual projects, the founders vote for the prize of the best collaborative material – hostwriterPrize – on a yearly basis. To be eligible for the award, the journalism work has to be a cooperation of at least two colleagues and the Hostwriter network has to be used during the research. The first prize is remunerated with EUR 3,000, another team with EUR 2,000.
Another opportunity is the annual hostwriterPitchPrize which aims at journalists who either do not have the funds to finance the cost of their story, or journalism students and recent graduates who have an idea, but no experience in getting a story commissioned by a publication. The prize mounts up to EUR 1,000.
 
Photo: Jpatokal/WikiCommons/CC BY-SA 2.0