Successful Partnerships

Successful editorial partnerships don’t just happen. They take a lot of work — picking the right folks to collaborate with, working to maintain the partnership, and each party committing to the basic principles of the partnership. Here’s a “baker’s dozen” (13) elements of successful partnerships.

Elements of Successful Editorial Partnerships

A Baker’s Dozen

By Jim Russell


  1. Want to Partner? Do the organizations really want to work together? What is the impetus for collaboration?
  2. Respect: Beyond the desires of management and the perception of strategic advantage, do the staffs respect each other and would they value the creative opportunity to collaborate?
  3. Importance: Is the project “important” to each organization?
  4. Values and Rules: Have the values of each organization been made explicit? Have the fundamental “rules of play” been articulated and agreed upon?
  5. Ability/Temperment: Do the partners have the ability to organize and run a project — one made more difficult by working in a partnership. Do they know how to motivate individuals they “don’t own?”
  6. Equal Treatment: Are the organizations each going to receive equal treatment in a partnership? If not, it is clear from the outset that an imbalance exists and is acceptable?
  7. Good fit: Are the organizations a good fit – do their strengths and weaknesses mesh and complement each other?
  8. Resources: Will each staff have comparable resources, so that a “second class citizenship” is avoided? Will resources be shared fairly?
  9. Credit: Will on-the-air credit and promotion/publicity be inclusive and comparable? Has boilerplate language been agreed to regarding the partnership and each organization’s role in it?
  10. Participation: Will each staff participate equally in the conception and implementation of the programming?>
  11. Expectations: Are the expectations of each organization realistic?
  12. Mediation: Is there a plan to mediate and resolve disagreements?
  13. Residual: What is the lasting value of the collaboration, after the project ends? What does this collaboration make possible in the future?

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