It's not often one has reason to mention the New York Times and the Merced Sun-Star in the same breath.
So listen up.
They are both on the cutting edge of new journalism collaborations that would have been unthinkable a few years ago -- and represent an unusual melding of for-profit and non-profit journalism.
During the past two weeks both the Times and the Sun-Star ran stories with a shared byline -- one of their own reporter's, followed by that of a reporter from a new non-profit journalism initiative.
On Monday the Times ran a front page story co-authored by James Glanz of the New York Times and T. Christian Miller of ProPublica, the non profit investigative reporting venture started by philanthropists Herb and Marion Sandler. The piece disclosed the existence of a 512 page report that was authored by federal government officials, and essentially blasted the administration for its botched war in Iraq.
Apparently, the report was obtained by ProPublica, which then shared it with the Times. What was interesting is that Miller's byline appeared alongside Glanz's without any mention on the front page that he represented another news organization. It was only at the end of the story that Miller's affiliation with ProPublica was disclosed.
Two weeks earlier, the Merced Sun-Star, a McClatchy paper in California's Central Valley, ran a front page story on plans for a new University of California medical school in the Central Valley. It also had shared bylines -- of Sun-Star reporter Danielle Gaines, and Deborah Schoch, a former LA Times reporter who now works for the Center for California Health Journalism, funded by the California HealthCare Foundation, and based at USC Annenberg School for Communication. It also included photos and slide shows produced by a freelance journalist hired by the Center for California Health Journalism.
Not so long ago shared bylines of this kind would have been unthinkable. But with newsrooms struggling with fewer resources and staff, and non-profit journalism enterprises emerging on both coasts (and in between), look for them to appear with increasing frequency in your local newspaper.