Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Breaking Away From Hectic Daily Media Production: Unleashing Explorative Innovation Through Inter-Firm Collaborations

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Abstract:  Beyond the widespread disruption narrative around media innovation, journalism scholarship has put forward valuable remedies to counteract a techno-deterministic perspective by embracing socio-constructivist and socio-technical approaches. Nevertheless, thus far, scholarly attention has primarily been directed towards the newsroom despite the journalism field having undergone significant structural transformations. In this article, we adopt an organisational perspective to journalism innovation and apply it to the emerging locus of inter-firm collaborations in journalism. In fact, while the newsroom has traditionally been considered the dominant location for implementing innovations, an increasing amount of media work currently occurs in decentralised settings. Our study draws upon 20 qualitative interviews with media practitioners and media managers who have been involved as project leaders in inter-firm collaborative projects. These projects have received institutional funding specifically aimed at fostering media innovation. We strive to understand how practitioners conceive of innovation in their overall activity, what obstacles they encounter in their usual routines, and how collaborative practices support them in their innovation trajectory. Our findings indicate that innovation is predominantly perceived as a demanding and complex ongoing practice characterised by adaptation to an evolving environment and hindered by a lack of resources and time. We also find that collaborations offer media practitioners a temporary framework for balancing their efforts to keep up with the demand for daily media production and their aspiration to carry out explorative activities. Lastly, our research reveals that these collaborations provide occasions for knowledge exchange and self-reflection that are frequently absent in non-collaborative settings.

Keywords:  dissonance; explorative innovation; inter-firm collaboration; journalism innovation; news media organisations


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© Giordano Zambelli, Luciano Morganti. 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.