Aggregation and Curation – Week 1

18 Jan

Olivia Feldman –

Curation combined with aggregation is just an added to bonus to journalism articles. Aggregation by itself is a perfect example of how the digital world is indeed affecting journalism – giving people more information than the original article has provided readers with. According to Mathew Ingram’s article on the Huffington Post’s aggregation of Miami Herald articles, some people are complaining that HuffPo “over-aggregates” the Herald and in addition does not attribute to the Herald enough. However, Ingram makes a good point in stating that HuffPo does indeed have multiple references to the paper and even includes links with more information about the story. How does this do damage to journalism in any way?

The analogy he uses works well in this case, comparing aggregation to the invention and progression of cars. Just like how cars improved people’s lives after living so long with horses and buggies, aggregation is improving articles and how journalism works in general. In this new Twitter-powered society of people who have an urgent need for accurate news (especially the most up-to-date information) right away, we need to provide more in-depth links to other stories in order to feed this need. However, it is also important that these aggregated articles are well-attributed. In an almost response blog entry, Kyle Munzenreider of the Miami New Times wrote that some Miami Herald insiders don’t include links to other stories they’ve attributed. He thinks that at least HuffPo at least “has the courtesy of linking back” to Miami Herald stories. It seems to make sense these days to link back to a story that you have taken information from, even if the article has already been attributed. However, as long as the story is attributed, even without a link, that should still be considered a form of good journalism ethics.

Curation is also important to the social-media-powered journalism of today: People only want the most important information; they don’t want to read through tedious, boring articles. In order to market its best news, a newspaper or news site should be hiring excellent journalism “curators” to figure out what news should make the website that day. In addition, according to a Mashable blog entry written by Josh Sternberg, non-journalists (“everyday people”) can be curators as well. People can share links to articles in their Twitter feeds if it “brings up a great fact [he or she thinks] everyone should know.” Curation can lead to discussion and the sharing of other links to other articles on the subject. As Steven Rosenbaum said in his blog entry, these days news could be considered more of a dialogue than a monologue.

Mindy McAdams gives some great information on certain “aspects of journalistic curation.” Curation is a lot like editing in that it just refines information and makes it more understandable and interesting for readers.

Overall, if we don’t adjust to the curation and aggregation of articles, we as journalists are going to fall way behind in the technology world. It is time embrace new techniques, not shun them.


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