To broaden our digital audience, we will need new mechanisms to create truly national coverage. One way to try to do that is to use freelance journalists more efficiently. Therefore we created The Washington Post Talent Network — a new software-based platform that will connect newsroom editors with freelancers around the country, based on their location, skills and areas of expertise.
We hope that if the freelancer platform is successful, it will provide a more sustainable work model for freelancers while also connecting our editors with the best freelance talent in the country. As more news organizations shrink, especially at the local level, there is an increasing amount of untapped talent in those communities that we hope to find and retain.
Status and next steps
Our team at the Post built and launched the new software, which is being rolled out in phases as we work on technical improvements and gain feedback.
Our next stage is to keep iterating and expanding across the Post newsroom, teaching all editors to use the software and seeing how well it connects them with freelancers in live, breaking news situations. We will also use the platform to allow freelancers to pitch stories to editors in a more targeted way, across sections.
Technology-based platforms can make relationships more efficient, but a good deal of planning and vetting can still be necessary, along with a lot of trial and error along the way.
This is the result of Kornblut’s effort to address a challenge in journalism: How can we expand news coverage by making a more seamless connection between freelancers and newsrooms? Learn more about this challenge during the exploration phase of the process.