Which Side Are You On?

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We are just finishing work on the fall edition of our print journal, and the theme is competition. (If you want to read about the function of competition in the nonprofit sector, be sure to subscribe to NPQ’s print publication if you have not already done so!)

And in the midst of that huge endeavor, we have also just finished bringing on a whole new group of newswire writers, whose work you will be seeing in our daily send-out from now on. (Here is one that I coauthored with Hannah Butler, this morning.) So, in celebration, I wanted to remind you about NPQ’s collaborative journalism model.

We believe in the intelligence of those who are doing and negotiating the grounded work in communities. You are the ones who have to understand the patterns of your operating environments—what it will mean if this philanthropic leader leaves her post, or if that organization embarrasses itself, or if such and such city decides that the CDBG money is needed for sidewalk repair instead of housing. You watch all of these interconnected dynamics, and if you are worth your salt, sometimes you understand what that will mean for the work you do.

But there may be context, knowledge, and ideas beyond your sight line and in someone else’s community that may be useful. Maybe someone else has fought a similar fight or faced a similar situation. Maybe there is a larger trend that you need to keep your eye on. This integrated and constantly advancing knowledge is what the newswire is for.

The newswire is a sensing mechanism that is one based in large part in the network of our newswire writers, who are distributed around the country and in various fields. This model makes us very smart—even, sometimes, prescient—because our writers, who are also our readers are.

In fact, this collaborative journalism model is NPQ’s “competitive” advantage.

P.S. Make sure you listen to this version of the song “Which Side Are You On?” (referred to in the abovementioned newswire) because it is sung by the author who penned it in 1931.