Supporting your cross-border team

The Collaborative Desk provides a secure digital workspace and expert support, bespoke to the needs of your cross-border team.

We handle the tools, so you can focus on the journalism.

Digital Security Assessment

We begin with conducting a need & threat analysis with your team as the basis for your customised Collaborative Desk set up.

Secure Tech Infrastructure

We set you up with a secure digital workspace, tailor-made for the cross-border journalism projects, using open source tools for communication & knowledge management.

Support & Mentorship

Your team will receive ongoing support throughout your project, including technical, and mentorship in digital security, cross-border collaboration and coordination.

Arena Networks

Through our extensive Arena journalism networks, we can help connect you with team members and partners across Europe.

We’d love to hear from you to discuss if the Collaborative Desk is right for your project. Book a call for a free consultation:

Working with the Collaborative Desk

Cross-border teams have unique challenges: team members work in different countries, in different editorial offices, in different organisations, or on a freelance basis. Well managed coordination is therefore key to a successful collaborative project.

The first coordination challenges to solve are:

  1. how to communicate;
  2. how to organise your research.

Although most initially aim to find a secure, independent platform, often teams find themselves defaulting to options which seem easy at first, but quickly become confusing, insecure, and chaotic to manage.

The Collaborative Desk is here to help. With our team of experts in cross-border journalism from Arena for Journalism in Europe, we will help you set up and navigate your cross-border collaboration, providing the tech, tools, and advice you need.

What we provide

The Collaborative Desk includes the set-up of a customised digital workspace for your remote team. It allows you to easily and instantly collaborate across borders in a secure environment. This digital workspace is customised for each team to meet their specific needs.

Our Arena team will guide the technical setup, maintains the digital environment, and provide you with mentoring around digital security and cross-border collaboration.

In a nutshell, the collaborative Desk provides your cross-border project with:

  • A digital security assessment
  • A custom secure digital workspace
  • Support and mentoring in cross-border collaboration

Tools include file sharing and editing based on Nextcloud, Matrix and other chat and video tools for secure communication, as well as knowledge sharing and project management tools.

What it costs

The Collaborative Desk is offered for a one-time payment for us to maintain the digital infrastructure, offer personal support and provide tools for the duration of your project.

However, just as we adjust the tech set up to each team’s needs, we also take differences between teams into consideration regarding the payment structure. This may depend on aspects such as the number of team members from high or low income countries, staffers or freelancers, or the agreement with the team on additional mentorships.

It is our goal to provide a secure and shared work space for and facilitate cross-border collaboration together with as many teams as possible. Diversity is a priority throughout our work. We welcome teams and journalists from lower income countries to contact us – we’ll try to find solutions so that participation doesn’t fall through due to a lack of funds.

Please get in touch if you are interested in working with the Collaborative Desk to discuss the availability and set up for your team. Our email:

The idea behind the Collaborative Desk

The aim of the Arena Collaborative Desk is to facilitate a crucial aspect of the professional collaboration of journalists: A digital workspace that is easily accessible and secure as well as guidance in using it, so cross-border journalism teams can collaborate securely and smoothly.

The results are direct and structural: The immediate opportunity for journalists to collaborate across borders on one level. On a development level, the Collaborative Desk signals the importance of cross-border collaboration as a necessary and legitimate activity in a networked society and speed up its development. Further, by using open source software and guiding transnational teams on adjusting the set-up to their precise needs when it comes to security and collaboration structure, we aim to contribute to the thoughtful use of digital tools in journalism networks.

The concept has been developed with journalists and is based on their needs throughout cross-border collaborations. We will continue to develop the Collaborative Desk based on the experiences and feedback from you.

The Collaborative Desk is made possible through the support of the Limelight Foundation.