Curation and Aggregation: The New Journalism

18 Jan

Marissa Lyons

It is clear that in many ways there is a new kind of journalism that cannot be ignored. Technology and the flood of information it enables has pushed journalism onto a new frontier. Now, there’s no looking back.

While some old school journalists still cling to the days of black and white print, there is no doubt that things are moving on… with or without them. Today, journalists are being jolted into a world of 24-hour live updates, online content flooded with links, multi-media story packages, blogs, twitter, etc.

With more content flowing more constantly than ever before, it’s not surprising journalism and its role in society has had to adapt. In order to keep up with the flow of information, a new role for journalists has been born. With the new techniques of curation and aggregation, journalists are now taking a more active role in sifting through and passing along pertinent information to their readers.

The idea of curation is basically being an expert in one specific area and then passing along the best information on that topic to readers. Using extensive knowledge, a curator can examine and chose the best resources and articles for that particular subject matter. This allows readers to come to one reliable place and easily get access to the information they desire on that specific topic. An analogy that makes the concept easy to grasp is equating a curator in journalism to that of a museum curator, as explained by Mindy McAdams.

The technique of aggregation is used to display a lot of information from all different sources on one topic. Sites that use aggregation, such as the Huffington Post, will take facts and information from other sources to make a story of their own on the topic. Their story might have information from several different news sources, but normally will include links back to the original story. Sometimes these aggregated stories will include original editorial content or commentary but not always.

There is currently debate about the rules and ethics when it comes to aggregation. Is aggregation stealing content? Is it using the hard work of another for your own gain? Or, is aggregation simply using the vast resources available on the web to compile the best information on a topic to make things easier for the information consumers out there? This is a tough question, especially since the world of technology is relatively new and constantly evolving. In this fast-paced and information-centric world, it is hard for some to accept change. Some people are flowing with the change, and others refuse to change. This discourse undoubtedly leads to debate about new practices such as aggregation. This article gives good insight into the issues currently surrounding aggregation.

While there is debate surrounding curation and aggregation, there is no doubt that people are talking about these two techniques. The conversations can be found all over the internet as people try to decide how they would be best used. One thing is for certain, they aren’t going anywhere.

Ultimately, change is a natural part of the world. If things we the same right now as they were 20 years ago, we would all be bored. Change is going to happen whether the world is ready or not. We are just hurting ourselves if we refuse to flow with the changes. There is now more information being thrown at us than ever before. These two techniques are a way to help sift through everything and easily get people what they want to know. The exact guidelines for these practices and whether aggregators and curators fall under the umbrella of journalism is still not crystal clear. But, one thing is. These practices are for the good of the information consumer and are here to stay.


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