By now, you’ve probably read about the ‘odd couple‘ collaboration between The Atlantic and Deseret News. If not, I’ll sum up the buzz: a Mormon owned metro daily and the monthly magazine owned by a rich guy teamed up for a four part series on the changing role of fatherhood in the country. Or, the less interesting version: two print institutions (both share mid-19th century birthdays), revitalizing themselves and succeeding in the digital landscape teamed up to do good journalism.
Yawn, right? I chatted with Paul Edwards, editor of the Deseret News, and tried to get him to dish about the ‘nitty gritty’ of putting the series together and the perils of collaborating with a publication that was geographically and ideologically different from your own.
We all sat around a conference table at The Atlantic in D.C. for the better part of a day with whiteboards and sandwiches and talked about ‘what are the issues surrounding family stability’ and went from there to assign stories.
And get this — they used Word documents:
We each had different content management systems so we just decided at that level that is was easier to pass along Word documents and track changes…on our side, things got passed around quite a bit, for various reasons. Allison Pond edited the series, and I had a gentleman named Drew Clark work on it for a little bit. It was really between Eleanor Barkhorn, at the Atlantic and I, and that was the primary relationship back and forth. It largely stayed in house until we were essentially passing along pretty completed drafts.