The Development of Local News Collaboration: A Population Ecology Perspective
The increasingly popular local news collaboration (LNC), a form of local news production, was analyzed as a budding population or collection of entities with increasingly similar forms and practices. Growth of the population over time is examined by both tracking the number of foundings and “mortalities” of collaborations and by measuring changes in the population density. The relative isomorphism (homogeneity) of collaboration practices, the relative success of local news collaborations, and the relative formality of practices were assessed. Changing levels of legitimacy of local news collaborations were also assessed, and three types of legitimacy were correlated with density levels, level of collaboration success, and adoption of formal agreements. As anticipated, the results indicate that LNCs are forming a population, but that it is a young, budding population. LNCs are still seeking niches within the journalism space and have not yet attained a shared understanding of best practices. Results also point to the importance of the journalism field’s institutional actors in the emergence of this population.