Introducing the Collaborative Desk: dedicated support for your cross-border team

Cross-border journalism is a powerful way for research to have a big impact, but conducting it successfully presents a unique set of challenges, from coordinating teams to maintaining secure technical infrastructure.

Arena for Journalism in Europe is today launching a solution to these eternal needs for cross-border projects: The Collaborative Desk. This initiative aims to provide the tools and support journalists need to enable their cross-border teams to collaborate successfully.

After a one year pilot phase developing the Collaborative Desk together with five cross-border teams from across Europe, Arena is delighted to expand our support to more teams in need for a secure digital workspace for their remote team of journalists.

The Collaborative Desk provides provides secure tools for communication, a cloud platform for sharing data and editing files, and additional tools needed to organise a cross-border investigative team. The set-up is customised to the needs of each team following an in-depth needs and security assessment.

We are not only equipping journalists with technical infrastructure, but also with Arena‘s knowledge and experience. We accompany teams with a guided set-up, and provide on-going support and mentoring in cross-border collaboration, team organisation and coordination throughout their projects.

The Collaborative Desk is an Arena projectwhich cuts across our core activities: we are supporting teams to overcome the obstacles that all cross-border teams face. We bring to this years of experience developing collaborative journalism projects and practices, giving trainings, and advising teams.

The practical side of cross-border collaborations has always been an important part of our work. What is needed to communicate within the team, how to share work material and results and how to organise the team and the project? Digital tools are part of the answer to these questions, but we know the technical set-up must reflect the team structure and its needs, so that people feel comfortable using them.

At Arena we saw a lack of resources when we worked with teams who don’t have a big newsroom or tech team behind them which can support them. So, together with journalists we have developed the Collaborative Desk to support cross-border teams with our experience but also with a technical infrastructure, based on their needs throughout cross-border collaborations.

Who we hope to hear from

We are looking for journalists who want to collaborate across European borders and beyond, and want to support small and medium-sized cross-border teams (3 to 25 journalists). In our experience, teams especially of this size usually lack the capacities to build their own infrastructure. This applies particularly to freelance journalists, journalists from smaller newsrooms or journalists from newsrooms without collaborative experience. The teams may collaborate on an ad-hoc basis, or on a long-term collaboration.

We will strive for diversity. This includes not at least geographic diversity across Europe, including journalists from lower-income countries and countries with difficult freedom of expression situations.

With our extensive experience of supporting and coordinating cross-border projects, we can help you set up and navigate your cross-border collaboration.

If you’d like to find out more, or to find out if the Collaborative Desk is right for your project, we would love to hear from you. Book a call for a free consultation, or find out more here.