Bridge Pittsburgh Media Partnership
What is BPMP?
An attempt to have news organizations across southwestern Pennsylvania work together on a collaborative reporting project of importance to the entire region. So far, 57 organizations have participated in the planning process, including 41 news outlets, 5 journalism groups and 4 universities. The planning process has engaged more than 140 people, including journalists, educators and citizens.
Who runs BPMP?
You do! The organization belongs to its members. In this case, the media outlets and independent journalists that choose to participate in the collaborative reporting process will own the partnership. The Center for Media Innovation facilitates the process, with funding from The Heinz Endowments.
What’s up with the name?
Participants evenly divided over two names: Bridge Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Media Partnership. So we put them together. The name represents attempts to bridge gaps among media outlets, and among journalists and the public.
How did BPMP get started?
The Heinz Endowments reached out to the Center for Media Innovation in 2018 and asked if it would convene a discussion of media outlets across the region to gauge interest in working together. The CMI formed a working group, and its members were enthusiastic about the idea. Then the CMI hosted an open meeting with journalists in September 2018, and everyone agreed it was a good idea.
Has anyone tried this before?
Yes. Resolve Philly brought together 13 media outlets to report on the issue of re-entry from prison. Now, it has 20 newsrooms working on the issue of poverty for a project called Broke in Philly. Similar efforts are underway in Colorado, Detroit, North Carolina and other places. Solutions Journalism Network provides resources to help collaborations.
What about the public?
BPMP held five community outreach events in the spring of 2019 to involve citizens: Three in geographic areas – McKees Rocks, California, Pa., and Homewood – and two with affinity groups – disabled people and young people. Citizens play a key role in this process, and more events will follow.