11 benefits of mixternal collaboration

E.W. Scripps’ Kari Wethington and Beth Welter share why—and how—internal and external communications teams can collaborate better.

Prioritizing mixternal collaboration

Calls to integrate communications are nothing new, but the pandemic has given communicators the opportunity to finally shed the silo mentality.

During Ragan’s “Master Mixternal Communications in the New Normal” virtual conference, E.W. Scripps’ Kari Wethington and Beth Welter shared some insights to help teams practice what they call “mixternal” communications.

“It all starts with recognizing a need to collaborate,” says Wethington, who directs external communications at the media company. “For us, we started to see a bigger need to speak from the same messaging playbook as the company’s footprint expanded.”

“There may be a few growing pains along the way,” says Welter, who oversees internal communications, “but the benefits are a pretty convincing argument to give it a shot.”

Image courtesy of E.W. Scripps.

So how to get started—what’s the best way to dip your toes into “mixternal” communications?

“Awareness is the first step,” says Wethington. “Commit to collaborating more and set up a structure that enables it. Sure, it’s a bit harder now that we’re not in the same office (since COVID-19), but just scheduling in a daily 15-minute check-in call goes a long way.”

Here’s a snapshot at how the E.W. Scripps communications team makes it happen:

Image courtesy of E.W. Scripps.


It may seem basic, but the collaborative approach is more crucial than ever these days when all employees—not just communicators—need to feel plugged in and valued.


One Response to “11 benefits of mixternal collaboration”

    Ian Ragsdale says:

    Mixternal teams can present a challenge to internal communicators that should be actively addressed. External comms is usually seen as the dominant practice, with internal as the less critical and sensitive functional area. This can lead to resentment among internal comms practitioners: external communicators believe their skills translate to internal comms, but not the other way around; and the long-term, proactive planning needs of internal comms get less attention than the reactive media relations and fire-fighting endemic to external comms. A mixternal team can likewise jeopardize career pathing for internal communicators. With external comms seen as the critical and umbrella function, passionate internal communicators will feel left out of growth opportunities.

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