Bridging Borders

Bridging Borders

After experiencing firsthand the difficulty of connecting with local journalists when reporting overseas and seeing the cutbacks newspapers are doing to investigative and international reporting, Dutch journalists Femke Awater and Charlotte Waaijers decided to launch Correlations.

Launched last December, Awater said Correlations is a way for newsrooms to “innovate the way (they) break the stories beyond their borders by providing them with a free way to expand their network of freelancers, working more closely together with local journalists and other news organizations, share costs and access funding. We hope we can create a platform that can help them safeguard a vital part of democracy in challenging times: informing those at home of what is happening in the world.”

After signing up for the website, members get access to a digital map with profiles of other Correlations’ members around the globe. Each profile has a photo of the member, a short description of the person and the work they have produced, and the member’s contact information.

Additionally, Correlations works on a reference system.

“Like Airbnb or BlaBlaCar, we use it to create an online trust system. People with a lot of good references are more trustworthy than people that have none,” Awater said.

In 2014, Awater and Waaijers won a Dutch competition called the Challenge, where Correlations was awarded a prize for the best innovative idea for journalism in the Netherlands.

Now, Correlations is working to expand their network and add on to the site. At the time E&P spoke with Awater, the website had 150 members, most of whom are Dutch correspondents living in different countries but some of the site’s members live in countries such as Denmark, Morocco and Sierra Leone.

In an effort to grow and improve the site, Correlations has partnered with the Dutch NGO Free Press Unlimited. Experts in the safety of journalists worldwide, Free Press Unlimited will help by adding new features to the Correlations website to make the system safer. In addition, Free Press Unlimited’s network of more than 400 journalists in 40 countries will be added to the Correlations network.

“We have been looking for ways to grow beyond our own Dutch borders. Using our own network we are doing so slowly but we are trying new ways every day,” Awater said.

Correlations is currently looking for ambassadors to help recruit members. For more information, visit correlations.nl.

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