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Posts Tagged ‘curation’

I highly recommend that you read Mindy McAdams’ post about aggregation and curation.

The post cites (and praises — thanks, Mindy!) my blog post last year on aggregation guidelines.

I said aggregators should link (Mindy did), attribute (ditto) and add value (certainly, especially with three strong examples). Excellent aggregation by Mindy. One indication that this aggregation is good journalism and not theft: I feel honored, not ripped off.

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I will be discussing ethical aggregation today at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.

Many of the points I make will be from my earlier blog posts on aggregation and curation. Here are the slides (with Italian translations from Google). I will later add some tweets from the discussion. You can follow this and other festival sessions on the #ijf13 hashtag.

Update: I’m told Google doesn’t translate “bad rap” well. At least I prefaced my translated slides by saying that they probably would have a funny translation or two.

If you want the slides just in English, here are the slides I used for a similar discussion at the ACES conference in St. Louis earlier this month:

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I will be leading a workshop this afternoon on ethical aggregation at the conference of the American Copy Editors Society.

I will draw heavily on points from my earlier blog posts on aggregation and curation. I also commend to your attention Maria Popova’s Curator’s Code.

Here’s the definition I will use:

I also mentioned this tweet from Andy Carvin and the subsequent Storify account of how he found his answers and his book Distant Witness (which I haven’t read yet, but a participant said the episode is discussed in the book).

 

Here are my slides for the workshop:

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Digital First Media’s curation team starts work full-time today.

They are taking on a new role for our company, curating national content for use by our newsrooms scattered across the country in 18 states and four time zones. I blogged recently with some thoughts about how news curators should work. We also asked candidates for the positions how they envisioned the team working.

Here, with some light editing, are their responses:

Julie Westfall, coming to DFM from the web operation of KPCC public radio in Los Angeles (a former colleague from TBD), will lead the team:

Curation is obviously a huge part of the future, and that’s exciting. Besides that everyone says so, it’s clear that verification, context and new formats for it are the best ways to utilize user-generated content and the huge amount of data and information that flows during breaking, developing and ongoing news. The way most news orgs do this is still slow, clunky, un-user friendly, and not well-distributed, and that means there’s a lot of space for growth and a lot more ways to engage the users who provide the content. 

Viewing content from a curator’s point of view is among the first ways to move into the mobile world. While these people may figure it all out, the article is not the ideal format for consuming breaking/developing news on mobile, but curating and its tools already give us what we need to start getting beyond that on mobile, and having a curation structure in place already rocking and rolling puts an org in a good position to create apps and take advantage of other mobile-friendly, article-busting storytelling innovations as they come along. Or hopefully as we create them! On that note … (more…)

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News curators must collect, summarize, make sense, add value, attribute, link, intrigue and entice.

Digital First Media announced today that Julie Westfall will lead our curation team, joined by Angi Carter and Karen Workman.

I am delighted with our selections for this team and look forward to working with them as they explore and demonstrate what a news curation team should be.

Mandy Jenkins introduces the candidates in her blog. Here I will discuss our expectations for those team members as well as for other Digital First journalists who will curate local content.

Successful curation will make sense on its own if you don’t click through to any of the content you are curating, but will entice many people to click through and read or watch more. Finding and presenting the collected content is important, but effective curation boosts the experience of each of the pieces by presenting multiple pieces in a context that enhances your understanding of each piece. (more…)

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Mandy Jenkins and I are making plans to hire and launch a curation team for Digital First Media.

If you wonder what a curation team is, don’t bother to apply. If you wonder what a curation team could be, and have some ideas, we want to hear from you.

Mandy, who will supervise the curation team, has a draft of a job description that will be included with the official job postings for a curation team leader and two curation editors. But we want people in these positions who will be finding the right directions for their jobs, not following our direction.

So here’s an invitation to journalists interested in curating for Digital First (or those interested in contributing to a broader conversation about curation): Tell us how you think a national journalism curation team should work: (more…)

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I have added three updates, marked in bold, since posting this originally.

Aggregation has become a dirty word in much of journalism today.

Bill Keller, former editor of the New York Times, last year wrote: “There’s often a thin line between aggregation and theft.”

Patrick Pexton, Washington Post ombudsman, in an April 20 column called plagiarism “a perpetual danger in aggregated stories.”

Actually, aggregation has a long, proud and ethical history in journalism. If you’re an old-school journalist, don’t think Huffington Post or Drudge when you think about aggregation; think AP. The Associated Press is primarily largely an aggregation service*, except that it its members pay huge fees for the privilege of being aggregated (and for receiving content aggregated from other members).

The New York Times and Washington Post also have long histories of aggregation. In my years at various Midwestern newspapers, we reported big local and regional stories that attracted the attention of the Times, Post and other national news organizations. Facts we had reported first invariably turned up in the Times and Post stories without attribution or with vague attribution such as “local media reports.” I don’t say that critically. When I was a reporter and editor at various Midwestern newspapers, we did the same thing with facts we aggregated from smaller newspapers as we did regional versions of their local stories.

My point isn’t to criticize these traditional newspapers, just to note that aggregation isn’t a new practice just because it’s a fairly new journalism term. It’s one of many areas where journalism practices and standards are evolving, and I believe standards are actually improving in most cases.

After the Washington Post case, Elana Zak asked me and others if journalists needed to develop guidelines for aggregation.

I’m happy to contribute to that conversation with some thoughts about aggregation. I’ll start with discussing what I mean by aggregation (and its cousin or sibling, curation):

(more…)

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The gatekeeper days of journalism were fun. But they’re over. And they weren’t as good as we remember them.

In a Facebook discussion today, Arkansas State journalism professor Jack Zibluk wrote, “By abandoning the gatekeeper role, I believe you are abandoning the profession.”

I replied: “Jack, no one abandoned the gatekeeper role. It became irrelevant when the fences blew away.”

Jack asked me to elaborate:

If journalism and journalists are no longer gatekeepers, then what ARE we? Nobody I know of has made a cohesive explanation of what our role is any more in society.

I initially begged off, saying I might blog about gatekeepers in a week or two. But another gatekeeper discussion on Jack’s Facebook wall and an exchange of private Facebook messages prompted me to blog now.

I used to be a gatekeeper, the person who decided which of the many potential stories my reporters at the Des Moines Register and Kansas City Star and Times could do would become news back in the 1980s and early 1990s. As editor of the Minot Daily News, I had the final say on every news story for our North Dakota town (and let’s be honest: beyond breaking news, a newspaper editor largely is the gatekeeper for local TV stations, too). Keeping the gate was a serious responsibility: We got to decide what was news and what wasn’t, what was front-page news, what was an inside brief and what wasn’t worth our readers’ time at all. We had to decide when a story was vetted and verified enough to make it through the gate. (more…)

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I will be leading workshops this week for The Gazette in Montreal. Here are links and slides I will be using in workshops:

We will discuss leading a digital-first newsroom. Here are slides for that workshop:

We will discuss the thinking and values of digital-first journalists. Here are slides for that workshop: (more…)

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A beat blog gives a newsroom a vehicle for providing in-depth coverage that the general-interest approach of a newspaper generally doesn’t allow.

I have decades of memories of arguments with editors (when I was a reporter) and with reporters (when I was an editor) about the reporters’ desire to tell stories in greater depth than the interest level of this mythical “typical” newspaper reader. A newspaper has finite space, and to tell the stories that serve this general-interest need of the masses, its reporters gather far more information that has appeal only in niches of people with keen interest in a particular topic.

Beat blogging is a way to serve that deeper level of interest, to use all the information a reporter gathers. It makes a newsroom’s content more valuable to the community, by serving the broad but shallow general interest and the narrow but deep niche interests.

I’ll be leading a workshop today for Digital First journalists in Connecticut on beat blogging. You can watch the livestream and ask questions on a live chat, starting at 3 p.m. Eastern time. You also can read about how the beat blog fits into the full work of a reporter in my earlier posts that addressed the work of reporters covering courts, sports, statehouses and other beats. Other helpful resources would be the BeatBlogging website (no longer active, but loaded with helpful advice and links), my Introduction to Reporting course for News University and my general blogging advice. I’m sure others have produced many other helpful resources. Please share some of those links in the comments.

I will try to compile a list of good current beat blogs, and I welcome your contributions to that list. Who are good reporters who blog regularly about their beats (don’t hesitate to suggest your own beat or someone on your staff)? But for now, I want to offer some basic advice for beat blogging. (more…)

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When I wrote about how a Digital First approach changes a journalist’s work, people asked for more examples.

In that initial post, I provided examples of how the approach would change the work of a court reporter, sports reporter, visual journalist, beat reporter and assigning editor. In response to a question from a colleague planning to hire a statehouse reporter, I blogged separately about how that reporter might work. On Twitter and in comments and emails, people asked me to explain how the Digital First approach might change the work of a business reporter, investigative reporter, lifestyle reporter and a reporter covering multiple beats.

Part of me wants to answer: You tell me. I haven’t been a business reporter in 20 years (though I have covered a few business stories since then). I was never a lifestyle reporter. A purpose of that blog post was to stimulate the discussion and experimentation of journalists so that you would answer those questions for yourselves and colleagues.

But more examples from me might stimulate more discussion and experimentation, so I’ll provide some answers, with this caveat: I’m not spelling out here how anyone should work. I’m suggesting things to consider as you decide how to work. Instead of going through each of the beats I was asked to address, as I’ve done with some of the others, I’ll list some questions and tasks any reporter should consider in working on any beat. I’ll answer them for some of the examples I was asked about, but the answers may be different for your beat. (more…)

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Digital First means different priorities and processes for journalists.

The name and approach of my company, Digital First Media, is getting a lot of attention in journalism, and other companies have declared they will follow a digital-first approach. But I don’t think the approach is yet widely or well understood. As I’ve visited our company’s newsrooms, I’ve heard again and again from editors that they are “all in” for our digital emphasis. But in the next breath, some editors ask questions about what Digital First means for them and their newsrooms. They believe but they don’t fully understand.

Digital First is way more than just publishing breaking news online and shooting video (though it involves both). Steve Yelvington explained:

Digital First is about making the future your first priority, with everything that implies.

It requires restructuring all your priorities. Not just when you do it, but what you do and how you do it.

In a series of blog posts starting today, I will attempt to explain what those priorities mean. I will explain for my Digital First colleagues as well as for the curious and skeptical journalists who are closely watching our efforts to redirect and redefine journalism. (more…)

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