Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Negotiating Roles and Routines in Collaborative Investigative Journalism

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Abstract:  Over the past two decades, the practice of investigative journalism has been reconstructed via the rise of journalistic networks around the world that have layered collaboration atop what had long been an individual pursuit. Among the recent successes of collaborative investigative journalism was the cross-border effort to expose the tax haven leaks that included the Panama Papers (2016). Due to such notable accomplishments, research on cross-border collaboration is increasing, but the ways in which this pooling of resources, time, and networks has impacted practice on a daily basis remain under-investigated. This article looks at how organizations and actors in emerging and legacy newsrooms are negotiating their routines and roles while developing new practices in investigative journalism. It uses three organizations as cases: Bristol Cable, a journalistic co-op operating at the community/local level; the Bureau Local, a local/national data-coordinating news desk; and The Guardian, a legacy media company that has long operated at the national/global level. This article finds that, in the transitions of traditional organizations and journalists and the emergence of new innovative organizations and non-journalistic actors, actors involved in collaborative investigative journalism deploy a language of justification regarding rules between the new and the old. It also finds that concepts such as coordination are part of this negotiation, and that knowledge and knowledge generation are taking place within a traditional understanding of journalism, as the “new” is normalized over time.

Keywords:  collaboration; investigative journalism; journalistic roles; news ecology



© Maria Konow-Lund. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.