“Seeking a Cure” collaboration reaches more than 120 outlets

A scene of Arcadia, Wisconsin

Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch

The hospital in Arcadia, Wis., closed in 2011. Family physician Dr. Bert Hodous said “the biggest loss to the community was the loss of the hospital.” Photo taken Sept. 19, 2019.

When a half dozen members of the Institute for Nonprofit News all reported healthcare was a top editorial priority for them, it quickly became clear that it would be a fruitful area for collaboration. When the team at Iowa Watch pitched a story about the crisis in rural healthcare to INN’s Amplify News Project team, a project was born. 

The Seeking a Cure collaboration examined challenges facing community hospitals in rural areas across the Midwest in the face of financial and regulatory pressure and changing patterns of health care delivery. It was also the first editorial collaboration from Amplify, which is focused on improving editorial collaboration and content distribution to advance the nonprofit news field. 

Through online and print storytelling, audio reports and photography, the goal of the series was to draw attention to a problem that may seem highly local, but is actually regional and national in scope.

INN believes that collaboration can help lead to greater attention, reach and impact. Bringing newsrooms together helps create a bigger pool of resources to tell complex stories in a detailed and responsible way.

Stories from Seeking a Cure, which launched on Sept. 30, were published by 126 unique outlets across 32 states and in 18 national/niche outlets. In addition, three presidential candidates and several online communities, such as r/news on Reddit with more than 19 million members, also amplified the story.

With this collaboration, INN tried to create a foundation for future projects, learning what works (and what doesn't) in project management, communication and distribution. As with many journalism projects, planning for impact at the outset was where we felt we were weakest: We learned that targeted outreach is essential to achieve maximum impact in future projects. 

Read the entire report here, which includes how INN collected this data, a breakdown of individual article performance, feedback on the collaboration from members and more. 

This project was started based on suggestions by INN members. If you have an idea for an editorial collaboration or would like to get involved in a future collaboration, please email amplify@inn.org