Is Curation the Future of Journalism?

Filed in Communication Strategy , Journalism 58 comments

Curation: “the activities of sorting, choosing, and display, which museum curators perform based on their extensive knowledge of the subject area of an exhibit.” [according to Mindy McAdams in her article on Curation and Journalists]
curator 250x300 Is Curation the Future of Journalism?

“With the push of social media and advancements in communications technology, the curator has become a journalist by proxy.

“They are not on the front lines, covering a particular beat or industry, or filing a story themselves, but they are responding to a reader need.

“With a torrent of content emanating from innumerable sources (blogs, mainstream media, social networks), a vacuum has been created between reporter and reader — or information gatherer and information seeker — where having a trusted human editor to help sort out all this information has become as necessary as those who file the initial report.” [3 quotes from Mashable article: Why Curation is Important to the Future of Journalism]

“A curator is someone who acts as a medium between journalists/publications and readers.  In today’s world of social media, link aggregators and social networking, almost anyone can attempt to be a curator . . . Curation is still evolving and the rules on the playing field will certainly change as the medium continues to be shaped.  Starting with some solid rules, however, instead of adopting an ‘anything goes’ approach, is definitely a good start.” [source]

The Mashable article quoted above also lists these thoughts:

  • Curators are like tour guides.
  • The word “media” means in the middle and reporters have always been mediaries — or middlemen.
  • Curators need to be trustworthy — and, thus, need to be held to standards, i.e., that is ethical practices as taught to journalists.
  • Transparency is key, so sources must be cited when content is not original.

Some suggest that the Internet-era newsroom should split journalism into four roles: (a) reporters; (b) columnists; (c) curators; (d) editors [source]. But reporters so often do not go out to do first-person reporting; instead of creating their own content, they simply reword what comes across wire copy. In addition many news organizations look down on curators, considering them as less-than-journalists.

But are they? Are curators “less than” or simply the — New Journalists?

STUDENTS: What have I done here?

I have “curated,” i.e. collected a lot of material about one topic. Or have I merely “aggregated” it. What is the difference?

I agree with many [here is one example] who insist that curation requires more than social sharing; rather the true curator adds value by offering knowledgeable analysis.

Here is some analysis:

1) Business, whether it be the news distribution business or a brand supplier or a service provider, must accept the fact that the world has changed, and that the “audience” is smarter and requires speedy, accurate, non-manipulative information.

2) Basically what this means is that old “traditional” business practices need to be re-examined to incorporate new technological opportunities.

3) Creativity and “non-laziness” [e.g.. simply relying on copying others] must be a part of building a community of followers and advocates.

So what does this “analysis” have to do with the Future of Journalism? You tell me.

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   22 March 2011
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Comments
Mar 23, 2011
4:28 am
#1 Paul Odtaa :

Sorry I think the idea that journalists are curators is wrong. I accept that Curators are becoming more like journalists as museums and archives are being open more to the public.

When I was a child, and dinosaurs roamed the world, with the exception of the London Science Museum were pretty dry affairs and the curators did their real research quietly in the background.

Now curators are putting up more interesting displays, interactive displays and are more open to discussing their work, presenting it on TV etc. So my local music museum, in Brentwood, west London, which has a remarkable collection of mechanical gadgets that were the fore-runners of juke boxes runs events to see the instruments working.

Back to Journalism

The post suggests four roles: (a) reporters; (b) columnists; (c) curators; (d) editors [source]

I personally would not call the curator role in journalism a curator. Surely the role is either a feature editor or journalist. Where the journalist pulls on their own extensive knowledge of the sources in an area they would be called a technical or expert journalist.

So most articles in say New Scientist are re-writes of academic papers and developments and put into the level of English that an intelligent non-expert would enjoy. I would call the journalist a science writer or journalist not a curator.

Mar 23, 2011
9:21 am

I’ve never thought about the possibility of a curator becoming a journalist. To the extent that consumers/readers require more and more personalized information – regarding specific topics, yes, it makes sense. I am just wondering whether curators will feel ready to face the daily tasks of the journalistic field and the crazy rhythm of the job – especially now in these converged and very quick times. Overall, I agree that new models of business have to be thought and tested in the Web 3.0 newsroom.

Mar 23, 2011
10:03 am

While I haven’t yet read Curation Nation, I’m looking forward to it. I’m not so sure journalists are curators – they’re filters. I also think the liaison function you describe applies to PR people, who study not only reaction to their clients’ initiatives, but also industry trends. And yes, there’s more to curation than simply aggregating the good, the bad, and the ugly. There’s an implicit ranking even in just the order in which things are listed. Once you move on to leaving some things out and adding others, you’re creating rather than merely rounding up.

Mar 23, 2011
10:29 am

As I see it, journalists have always been curators in some way. During the research and reporting process, journalists must gather and sort through information.

I think a lot of people think of curation as being an easy thing since everyone can do it. Good curation, however, requires skill, good judgment and a lot of time.

With the overflow of information in our world, we really need curation. I agree with Shari. Analysis and original contribution is important too. When you curate, you must have a strategy to guide you.

Hope this helps.

Mar 23, 2011
10:39 am
#5 Jim DeLa :

Curation, if I’m reading this correctly, is just a fancy new word for “editing” in the old-school sense. An editor compiles information from various sources (wire services, local reporters, photos, graphics, etc….) and creates an organized, logical presentation of the day’s news. Is thsi all we’re talking about, really?

Mar 23, 2011
2:26 pm

I see journalists becoming editors. They can take the wide range of content from the public and bloggers and edit it to take out libel and even bad grammar and pass it upwards to their editor for final approval before it goes online on a major site. We could see content coming from small sites and blogs being copied via journalists and editors to the large ones. Journalists should be well versed in the laws of reporting, defamation and libel and so can take on this role.

Mar 23, 2011
2:43 pm

I think by using the word “curator” we are over-complicating things.

To me, curator just seems like another title for “editor” or “journalist.”

Author Mar 23, 2011
3:46 pm

LinkedIn Groups

Group: PRwise

Sounds like a new type of gatekeeper to me. I’m not sure journalists have the time to gather that extensive knowledge curators have. Reporters are faced with tremedous challenges to write more, for more media, under less time, on more topics. No one can afford the luxury of specialization in traditional newsrooms. So, where do you get the expertize to become a curator?
Shari, please do keep me updated with your outcome. An interesting topic and I wish you the best of luck with it!
Posted by Cristina Muntean

Author Mar 23, 2011
3:48 pm

Group: Bay Area Consultants Network

There’s a fairly new book called *Curation Nation* that you might want to check out. It goes as far as to say that curation will replace search, which seems excessive to me–won’t people at least have to search to find those doing the curating?
Posted by Sallie Goetsch

Author Mar 24, 2011
2:15 am
#10 Shari Weiss :


LinkedIn Group: PrPro

I would encourage your students to watch the BBC’s Virtual Revolution which gives a good objective background to the Internet’s development over the past 30 years. With a changing world that has emphasis on the need for leverage of the online social media as a growing form of promotion that has to be done alongside the material world.
I hope this helps.
Posted by Nicholai Roguski

Mar 24, 2011
4:47 pm
#11 Bob Jenkins :

Thinking on my experience as a former curator of both living and non-living collections, it is important to remember what the term actually means. To curate means to collect and maintain a collection of something, regardless of what is being collected and maintained. There is no inherent need for “public display” to be a true curator. However, to meet the needs of the institution where the collection is maintained, most curators must often arrange their collections in some coherent organization that, with an exhibit designer, is placed on public display for recreation and educational purposes, often involving interpretation. Often the same collection can be rearranged to meet different recreation and educational goals. Egyptian artifacts and impressionist paintings are cases in point.

Journalism, or more the results of journalism, could be considered to be done this way as in the “newseum” in DC. While curators can indeed become “journalists” in that they can provide timely information about their collections or about specific items that are contained therein, can journalists truly be “curators” of the collections held by news institutions? They can only be so if they are responsible for retaining and maintaining a coherent collection – which is the key to being a curator.

In truth, the profession of journalism is already maintaining a collection. Watch “Meet the Press” any Sunday and you will see journalistic items being displayed from their “collections” during interviews of various persons. However, unlike most scientific or museum collections, they do not seem to have any coherent reason for their retention and maintenance save for future reference by journalists/reporters – which may not, or may not, meet the formal definition of curation. I would therefore postulate that journalists are not actual curators of news items, per se, but they are more the “exhibit designers” when the collection items are put on display. To me, is it the database managers of the news items who record and maintain the journalistic bits for future use by journalists, who are in fact the actual curators of a journalistic collection. They, coupled with the actual journalist, provide the exhibit for public display.

Author Mar 24, 2011
10:48 pm
#12 Shari Weiss :

Bob, thank you so much for taking the time and making the effort to help me and my students really judge whether or not Curation is the Future of Journalism. I will be certain to have my students comment on your comment.

Author Mar 24, 2011
11:03 pm
#13 Shari Weiss :

LinkedIn Group: Newspaper Professionals Network

Long before the Internet and social media, newspapers and magazines had “morgues,” or libraries, which contained every article originated and published by the individual publication. The morgue attendant, or librarian, also decided whether and how to keep and catalog related materials — say, stories or photos by wire services, rival publications, even reporter notes or fact-checking materials that were given over for preservation. (I offer this as some background and history in the field.)
Posted by Judith Backover

Author Mar 24, 2011
11:08 pm
#14 Shari Weiss :

LinkedIn Group: Newspaper Professionals Network

Good reporting and editing has always reflected strong research and excellent critical thinking. The vast information available with the advancement of social media and “advancements in communication technology” should in fact make the life of the contemporary journalist easier, not more difficult.

The difficulty is in educating students in the basics to begin with–that not all information is equal, that critical thinking and “curating” is required, and that “the activities or sorting, choosing and display” are an inherent part of what is the craft of a good journalist to begin with.

To add another layer to the process could be counter-productive in forcing the journalist to think for themselves–to do the hard work, to get to the heart of the story by making connections that are important by culling through first-hand information and doing their own choosing. On the other hand, if they are made aware that this is necessary–and that is emphasized by making an analagy that they are like a curator–this can be good.

The story is actually pretty confusing because it points to the curator as journalist rather than the other way around. That’s like saying a housekeeper has become a journalist by proxy because they know how to best clean the kitchen and make it look attractive.
Posted by Joni Hannigan

Author Mar 24, 2011
11:25 pm
#15 Shari Weiss :

LinkedIn Group: National Association of Citizen Journalists

I believe curators or editors are needed to sort through the incredible amount of information that is out there. When I worked in newspapers many years ago, wire service editors did this type of work. These editors would sort through all the wire service reports and put together an article with the best information available.

I also believe this job should not be left to reporters. And contrary to what this article states, reporters should report and write original copy. That’s their job. They could, however, look at information that is out there as they do research prior to conducting their own interviews and getting their own information.

You and your students also might be interested in a website where curators discuss citizen journalism. Check it out at: http://international.ohmynews.com/ . You can find me there. I’m NACJ Trainer : ).
Posted by Susan Cormier

Mar 25, 2011
10:21 am

My first impression when I read the title there was that a curator and an editor are at opposite ends. A curator, as I understand it, has to sort out the good from the bad. My experience of journalists is that they just have to full their column inches. Not only that, they have to do it quickly as they have a deadline to meet so are not always factually correct.
However, the interesting way that you have explained it has made me take a closer look at it.

Author Mar 25, 2011
10:22 am
#17 Shari Weiss :

LinkedIn Group: Journalistics

Discussion: My students and I need your input

I’ve never thought about the possibility of a curator becoming a journalist. To the extent that consumers/readers require more and more personalized information – regarding specific topics, yes, it makes sense. I am just wondering whether curators will feel ready to face the daily tasks of the journalistic field and the crazy rhythm of the job – especially now in these converged and very quick times. Overall, I agree that new models of business have to be thought and tested in the Web 3.0 newsroom.

Posted by Diego Iraheta

Author Mar 25, 2011
10:33 pm
#18 Shari Weiss :

LinkedIn Group: Online reporters and editors
Discussion: My students and I need your input

Curation is a misnomer and a word hijacked by contemporary usage.
News aggregation/ors is a more appropriate and well-defined term relating to the Web and content.

However, as journalist with a Bachelor of Journalism degree and a Master’s degree in
Communication, I do not use my skills or the writing craft to curate. I do original researching, interviewing, reporting, writing and editing.

Posted by Merry Clark

Mar 28, 2011
7:51 pm

After reading the whole discussion, Merry Clark said what I feel.

Also, when you take the facts (if there is any such thing) from multiple sources, combine and analyze them, you are inevitably interpreting them. “News analysis” is the bridge to editorial opinions, advocacy, or simply “editorials.”

I am not sure I see the need for a confusing metaphor when we have very good words to describe the gamut within journalism: reporting, analyzing, editorializing.

Mar 29, 2011
8:55 am

Hi Shari,
Very interesting discussion. I once worked in a museum and learned what curators do – collect and maintain collections. I never heard the term in this manner. Interesting concept, or thought about how the role/career of journalist is changing.

Author Mar 29, 2011
10:18 am
#21 Shari Weiss :

Leslie, I checked out what you are up to with your 100 day challenge [on your blog post if anyone would like to check it out]. Hmmmm. I am wondering how “curation” can fit into your future? Perhaps a book collecting your challenge experiences. GOOD LUCK!

Mar 31, 2011
8:42 am

I cannot address journalists, Social Media professionals are having to become curators; at least in the sense of finding, posting, and tracking quality content. I spoke elsewhere of the need for attenuating the noise in SM, and in addition to employing critical thinking, curation is an important step in finding accessible depth. Great post, Shari.

Mar 31, 2011
8:44 am

And I think ComLuv must be on the fritz… I posted no such thing as the above.

Mar 31, 2011
8:54 am

BTW, a search of “content curation” on Social Media Today reveals over 50 results – must be something to what you are saying, Shari, or so the industry thinks.

Mar 31, 2011
12:10 pm
#25 Rick Salas :

Curation is seen as just an editing but the story really does point to the journalist being a curator. I think it can help the journalist in getting the job done faster to bring it to the public. What a great discussion. Thanks for a great post Shari.
Rick

Mar 31, 2011
3:38 pm

I like your perspective on curation being the next phase of journalism, especially on the internet. I actually never thought to myself that there really are four different types of journalism which we can be (editor, curator, journalist, or columnist). Great perspective, I must say.

Mar 31, 2011
6:16 pm
#27 Bob Jenkins :

Before we get too far down the road, remember that curators, per se, are specialists and not generalists. For a journalist to be a true curator, he/she must be focused on a certain aspect of journalism. For example, I would posit that Bob Woodward is a curator of journalism in that he has become specialised in the news about the presidency, etc., knows the material/collection and routinely reports on such.

Geraldo Rivera and Anderson “Crisis” Cooper, on the other hand, would not qualify as true curators IMO, as they themselves do not maintain a collection/knowledge base. To me, they are more empty vessels in which news factoids are poured every day for each daily broadcast.

Curators know and study their collections and can interpret them properly. As an aside, curators also rely on Collection Managers to help maintain the collection. For most journalists, it would be the folks in the bowels of the news institution maintaining the news items that are the true curators/collection managers in journalism and not reporters using the factoids.

Lastly, if we are talking about a true curator of journalism, then we should look at the Newseum in DC where the curators of journalism actually work.

Author Mar 31, 2011
11:29 pm
#28 Shari Weiss :

Bob, I very much like and appreciate your insights regarding this discussion, and i will draw special attention to your comment when my students take on this topic next week.

BTW, would you say you have the expertise to be a “curator” in any area of knowledge?

Apr 4, 2011
8:27 pm

Very thoughtful points are made on this topic both in the original article as well as the comments.

My personal feeling is that curation will hold a very significant role in the future of content on the internet but I don’t see it as journalistic role. I think the that the concept of time and timeliness which is a major aspect of journalism does not exist in the same context in curation. Instead, I see the content curators as a separate group which may be used by many journalists but aren’t really journalists themselves.

The other thing I find interesting is the idea of curators adding analysis and editorial to their collections – in some ways this seems counter to the role. If curators are drawing conclusions then where do people go for facts?

Apr 5, 2011
12:31 am
#30 Champa Mulchandani :

I had to really think carefully about the true meaning of “Curation” because to me, it simply looks like a lot of research that is put together. But from the comments above, I’ve come to understand that really a curator is one who is specialized in a particular field. So ultimately this would mean that a curator is a person who must commit to a particular area of journalism.

I think that curators definitely have a deep rooted future in the world of journalism. However, I don’t know how effective one may be since they are ultimately just accumulating information, meshing it together and creating a platform to gather information that is readily available to anyone who needs it.

I wonder also, how it works with being a journalist. For example, if I commit myself to a certain area in journalism, does it make me a curator? And what if I pen original work of my own? Do you need to choose between being a curator and penning original work?

Ultimately, yes curators are going to shape the future of journalism because they are so niche in what they do and it definitely does require a certain amount of expertise.

Apr 5, 2011
4:01 am
#31 Mike Maynard :

I think it’s important to understand the difference between traditional curation and digital curation; the latter has been a problem that we have had to be aware of since the days of the Cp/m operating system.

Computers change and systems change. The change from Windows XP to Windows 7 to take advantage of 64 bit computing is giving a lot of people problems and data management and the programs to manage data have to be compatible.

We have to bear in mind all the time that technology changes and the change creates as many problems as it solves. Not all information is in English either and I am very aware of that as I look for information that is in European languages and increasingly in Chinese. I have Google set to search sites in China for the information I want as well as in the UK.

Apr 5, 2011
5:27 pm
#32 Bob Jenkins :

I’ve done some extended reading on the subject of journalists as curators and believe that the concept is very different in the journalistic sense than how it is used in the traditional sense. In the world of the art and/or science curator, a collection is gathered, maintained, preserved and studied with a common theme. The curator then uses the collection to develop an understanding of the collection that is then interpreted and subsequently published or displayed for examination whether by the general public or others knowledgeable in his/her field. For example, in museums curators present their analysis and/or findings of the evolution of art based on collections of, say, impressionist artwork. Similarly, biological evolution is studied and interpreted through taxonomic collections. Additionally, curators are often supported by “collection managers” whose job it is to maintain the integrity of the collection. It is the collection manager who maintains the collection while the curator ensures that what is in the collection is pertinent to the collection and the uses it is put to.

Based on what is being discussed about journalistic curation on various websites, the concept is put forward that journalistic curators “synchronize the community” as regards information they gather and organize. However, there is no clear delineation about which community is being synchronized and to what end. Most seem to bog down on what is seen as the mind-numbing “filtering and sorting” of the collection and its subsequent maintenance. One website, http://mindymcadams.com/tojou/2008/curation-and-journalists-as-curators/ , does give a clear definition of a journalistic curator that is very similar to what I wrote above. However, it then equates the “filtering and sorting” of the collection to that of “plain old editing” leaving the reader somethat confused on the subject.

Contrary to the statement referenced at the beginning of this piece, curators of any type are not “tour guides” in any sense of the word. While curators may create the knowledge base on which interpretation is based, it would be the museum volunteers or the TV and print reporters who are the actual “tour guides” of any collection. Curators study and analyze collections, regardless of the topic, and then develop meaningful systems of interpretation for digestion by various audiences. Doing so takes time and requires the acquisition of knowledge about the collection. And the same collection can be interpreted many different ways by the same curator. Again, I point out the comparison of Bob Woodward to Geraldo Rivera, which may be more of a “journalist to reporter” comparison than a “journalist-curator to journalist-reporter” comparison.

Lastly, it was noted above that many news institutions tend to “look down on curators, considering them as less than journalists”. I would posit that those institutions do not really know what actually a true “curator of journalism” could be and are equating it with the keeper of the “news morgue” – the collection manager. To be a true curator of journalism, one needs to be actively involved in the gathering, sorting and filtering of items that go into a news or information collection and then be actively engaged in using it and interpreting it.

Apr 5, 2011
11:27 pm
#33 A.S. Miller :

When I first read this article, I was really excited and into the idea – yeah, journalists as curators! Go curation! Without thinking, it looks like a natural next step. We face barrels of information rolling down on us. It would be logical that out of the mess of information would come the curators to make sense of everything. Mike Masnick in his article The Role of Curation made a model that seemed the ideal: journalists focusing on writing, columnists adding personal perspective, and curators bringing it all together. But…after reading through the comments, the sourced articles, and a bit more, I started to have questions about this idea of curation.

For one, does/can a curator remain neutral? Journalism, to me, is about neutrality, transparency, showing all the sides of a story. Enrie Smith was saying that opinion gives shape to content, the curation “carries of the person’s footprint”, and because of this curators should have more freedom. It depends on the platform but assuming most curators would be using social sites like Twitter and blogs and already have a specific following, there is the expectation that the curated materials would be relevant to the audience. It seems to fall in the same trap as every other news network.

Then there was another question about the readers. Curation is meant to be a response to reader needs. However, online, aren’t readers needs and expectations to receive information instantaneously and doesn’t curation imply a certain amount of time required to carefully gather data? The more I think about, the more my intial thought changes to the idea that the curator is a middleman for the reader who doesn’t search out information on their own. In the simplest sense, that’s exactly what it seems to be, unless you add in that a curator is also analyzing information, but then the curator is more a columnist.

I’m really curious to learn more about this and see what actual people in the business think about it. I’m starting to run in circles over here.

Author Apr 6, 2011
12:09 am
#34 Shari Weiss :

Ama, after you write YOUR curated article, we’ll see if your opinions have changed.
:-)

Apr 6, 2011
7:00 am

I have to admit, I’ve never thought about any of this before. About 10 years ago, I did a lot of research on a specific topic within artificial intelligence and wrote papers based on that research, for journals and conference publications. These papers were to be collated for a dissertation. Is that curation or research, or both?

Apr 6, 2011
4:08 pm
#36 Billy Rivera :

I feel like the premise of this argument is flawed from the start with a title asking if curation is the future of journalism. Without reporters, columnists, and bloggers, there would be no content for an editor to aggregate. Perhaps a more precise title would be “Is Curation IN the Future of Journalism?” It seems that if information continues to proliferate at its current momentum, there will be an ever-increasing need for someone to gather all the scattered media into organized chunks for easier consumption (i.e. Drudge Report/Huffington Post).

With that said, I think it’s fun to play around with new and juxtaposing ideas to better understand where journalism is headed. For the sake of the experiment, curating information from different sources into one concise location can definitely lead to a greater understanding of any subject. The internet is also making aggregation easier for non-journalists, especially when you factor in social media. Twitter, for example, is essentially the museum curator’s dream, with Tweetdeck serving as the Louvre of social media. Facebook is like the having a curator in the family; placing the home deep inside the art gallery, only instead of art we get a vast array of multimedia in the form of the “update.”

I think it would interesting to take a non-journalist’s Twitter or Facebook account and aggregate their entire tweet/update history into one publication. I could prove that curation can apply to social media in ways we haven’t seen before. I also wonder if a biographer would use this method to write autobiographies. For example, if another Elizabeth Taylor autobiography ever comes out, will it include her Twitter voice? The process of organizing those Tweets I could see at true curation, because once published, it will be open for public “viewing.”

Apr 6, 2011
6:09 pm
#37 Vanessa Jensen :

I had never before thought of journalists as being curators, this article inspired me to research it further. What first comes to mind when I hear the term “curator” is a museum curator but, after looking into the exact definition of the term curator, I know don’t see how journalists could not be called curators.

cu•ra•tor noun \ˈkyu̇r-ˌā-tər, kyu̇-ˈrā-, ˈkyu̇r-ə-\
Definition: One who has the care and superintendence of something; especially one in charge of a museum, zoo, or other place of exhibit. Origin: Latin, from curare to care, from cura care.
Definition derived from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curator

Journalists care about and supervise the information they release to the public [at least they should]. They organize the information they have compiled into a nice little package for the reader. I feel it takes a lot of effort to put together an article that will be read by many, I don’t feel it’s such an easy task.

Now, there are those who feel that the title of “curator” should exclusively be used for museum curators. I somewhat understand this…as Christy Barksdale brought out in her article; Content Curation: Bringing Order to Information Overload, many museum curators have PhDs in their area of expertise, and believe that it is only with the highest level of education, and many years of research and experience, that one can be a true curator. Museum curators put forth a lot of time and effort to get that title, so like I said; I can somewhat see why they would be irritated if their title could easily be given to journalists.

Christy Barksdale also points out that merely sharing information over social networks is not curation; I agree. I don’t feel spitting out mindless information on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is curating information. But, when someone takes the time to research and put together a well thought out article I view this as curation.

But, honestly…we can go back and forth on whether or not journalists should be called curators or not. I feel it’s only a word…why should we really give so much value to any title?? Is it really necessary? I don’t think so…but, that’s only my opinion; I know and expect many to disagree but it’s ok…we are all different and that’s the beauty of life.

Author Apr 6, 2011
7:29 pm
#38 Shari Weiss :

Julienne, my understanding would be that you were indeed a curator. So my answer is BOTH. And have you written anything about artificial intelligence recently. Do we know more now?

Author Apr 6, 2011
7:31 pm
#39 Shari Weiss :

So, Billy, one can always answer a question NO.
:-)
I.E. You can always look at the question “Is Curation the Future of Journalism?” and answer “No.”
:-)

Apr 6, 2011
8:25 pm
#40 Kevin Jennings :

@Shari – This was a very interesting article, and it took me awhile to understand exactly what was going on, i had never heard of curation or curators ever before this post.
But i agree with the comment that #4 @Lindsay Oberst made, i too see Journalists already as curators in some way. Researching, gathering information and reporting is still part of a journalists job, and most still perform these duties, but i don’t want to make my call on the subject of journalists and curators until i do more research on the topic, so i am excited to read the rest of articles about the subject.

Apr 7, 2011
12:56 am
#41 Billy Rivera :

I think my use of the word “flawed” was a little harsh. I’m not criticizing the question itself, I’m just pointing out that it doesn’t give the full picture of journalism. I think curation can be ONE element of journalism. Also, I realize that Elizabeth Taylor will not be writing her autobiography any time soon, and that biographers usually don’t write autobiographies (although I’d loved to read one), so please scratch those errors.

Apr 7, 2011
10:49 am
#42 Leanna Marie Francis :

@Shari You asked: “Is curation the future of journalism?”

As a strategy, I would argue that by the definition that it has been used already for a very long time, at least since libraries have existed, and much more so with the invention of the internet.

Anybody who values research and has some kind of following will have the power to collect and sort through information, and to choose how it is presented. Journalists always do this, unless they are showing up at an event and just saying what they saw. Most don’t just do that, even if they are at the event, they will read up on the happenings first, and include any information that they think might be useful.

As a job title, I don’t know, but I really hope not. As you said, Shari, the journalist is already a “middleman” between the information and the public, which is then filtered through a journalist’s personal preferences for studying observing and reporting the information, as well as the interests of whatever media company that they work for, and then filtered once again through the perception of the public. If the news was coffee, it would be cold and tasteless by the time it got to us. Now we want to filter it again? Why?

I would trust the idea if maybe curators were both anonymous and not for profit… maybe to make sense of some of the blatant lies we’re being told but my guess is that it would be another of those jobs that get compromised by personal interest/survival and would weaken the news even more.

Author Apr 7, 2011
10:57 am
#43 Shari Weiss :

Leanna,
this is a very thoughtful response and certainly worth deliberating over. I like the idea of your coffee analogy, but I’m not certain that the coffee — while cold — needs to be “tasteless.” Starbucks comes to mind here, and although I myself don’t frequent their establishments, I know that their “taste-filled” coffees do have their fans. So does this mean something like “different strokes for different folks.”

After next week’s assignment, let me know if your ideas have changed.

Apr 8, 2011
1:43 am
#44 Taniesha R. :

While I appreciate the article, I agree with Paul. From what I do know, I feel that curators do play some role in the social media world, however I don’t feel they play as close a role as journalist. A journalist is up close and personal, where as I feel the curator has a backed role, overseeing events in which have already taken place.

Author Apr 8, 2011
10:34 am
#45 Shari Weiss :

Getting up close and personal was one of the great features of being a reporter, Taniesha, but today’s economy has less resources for those activities.

Apr 8, 2011
12:46 pm
#46 Kevin Jennings :

So here is my second take on curation in journalism. When i read this quote “The Mashable article poses a question regarding the journalistic and ethical obligations a curator should have: “Building trust is important to validating curation as an evolutionary form of journalism, and many curators believe they should be held to the same standards as journalists…Ethical standards and transparency (like citing/crediting sources) are essential in building trust in a curator.Trust definitely is a key to the equation in this medium, and is likely to gain a curator more followers in the long run.” located at http://blog.ithenticate.com/2011/03/a-new-age-of-curation-in-journalism/. I realized the biggest problem that i see analyst have with curators and curation is trust. Because curators direct viewers to different sources, ones that they feel are best for their audience part of the journalism industry has a problem with that because of a curators expertise on a subject. Which is by the way a legitimate argument.
Im not sure how i feel about this matter because if a curator is sorting through different sources and information that best suits their audience, this should make them at least knowledgeable enough to direct them to relevant information they might want to read. Which means they’re not totally ignorant to the subject of the matter.
The practice of curation is working good so far and i think it should be looked into more and embraced by journalists. Who can then create their own guidelines for the practice. Will the rest of the industry follow them? who knows?

Apr 8, 2011
3:46 pm
#47 Nick Selensky :

Curator can be used as a synonym for journalist. Where the information is produced in the first place is not as important as it once was. Since a vacuum has been created in the field of journalism it is key to shift the paradigm of what a journalist actually is and does. According to Wikipedia, which is the post popular website for information aggregation, a journalist is someone who collects and disseminates information about current events, people, trends and issues. The same website also states that new types of curators are emerging and mention digital curation which is the task of collecting digital information. One could make the argument that both journalists and curators both collect information, pick it apart, reorganize and display their work.
Job descriptions and responsibilities are going to change over time. As the world becomes more dependent on the internet it is important to keep the concept of editing alive. Not all information is inherently equal and social media needs to have some sort of intermediary to be able to convey pertinent news to a wide audience. Social media curators will become more important in the future because editing is a critical part of writing in general. Mindy McAdams makes a note about it in her article “Curation” and Journalists as Curators. She mentions that Jeff Jarvis’ definition for a curation “the need for editors to create order, to correct and vet” just sounds like “plain old editing…”

Apr 13, 2011
12:24 pm

Here’s a worthwhile read that mentions this topic from Mashable.

http://mashable.com/2011/04/12/social-journalism-quality/

Apr 13, 2011
7:46 pm
#49 Cheryl James :

I think that journalism is being forever changed by the Internet. What we have seen in the last few years alone is that networks are rushing to get the story out there is no time for fact checking to take place.

Who would have thought twenty years ago that newspapers would disappear? Yet it is happening. There is something to be said for trustworthy sources, but I feel that with technology the standards have changed. Makes for a very interesting debate.

Author Apr 21, 2011
2:35 am
#50 Shari Weiss :

LinkedIn Group: Newspaper Professionals Network

I’d love that, too, Judy – but, as my boss said when I was working at a daily as an online editor, “We’re not a library.” It takes resources to archive everything – and newsroom resources are shrinking, not growing. The current revenue model for online advertising isn’t working – and giving MORE away just isn’t affordable. I wasn’t smart enough to keep all of my yellowing articles – sure wish I had been!)
Posted by Linda Parker

Apr 22, 2011
4:07 pm
#51 Jena :

Curators ARE NOT journalists; mereley another important and vital function in journalism and how news is presented to us. this article, in my opinion, aggregated information or performed content curtain at the basic level. I believe if we apply the exact definition of original curation to its emergence in journalism, the distinction between journalists and curators is present. The curator can present the journalists reporting to the mass audience, not necessarily cover the beat or create an authorship perspective. Journalists can be curators; Curators cannot be journalists. At least, not without blending the standards held by both professions.

Author Apr 22, 2011
10:21 pm
#52 Shari Weiss :

Hi Jena, my students and I definitely appreciate your viewpoint. My personal take on the entire issue is that curation and journalism have grown up as entirely separate endeavors. But now with the danger of losing the financial resources to fund journalists for the investigative aspects of their work, many people are theorizing how journalism will evolve — and some see more of a blending of the two activities: journalists spending more time curating than reporting.

Apr 24, 2011
5:50 am

This curation article is very insightful, especially as I am beginning to learn more about social media and journalists. I too used to think of curators as knowledgeable and certified individuals that in museums fulfilled duties such as selecting works, organizing the materials, and planning exhibits and details on their presentation. In addition, I thought of journalists as active reporters that are interviewing insiders to get the firsthand news on special events and occurrences. The article, however, explains that the fine line between these two professions is blurred due to the increased amount of social media sites and communications technology.

The phenomenon of journalistic curation seems to be evolving. Both professions overlap in that they present their works to an audience and use similar methods. As Mindy McAdams points out, they both have to organize their resources, present them within a context, plan the entire work, and show some expertise in the subject. With this last note stems another important point that was presented in the article. One needs to trust the writer to believe that their knowledge of the subject is valid. Unfortunately, this crucial aspect can be undermined by the fact that nowadays journalists can consist of celebrities or protesters. These people can have a large fan base, but it does not mean that they are properly trained in the subject they are blogging, tweeting, or sharing about. Nevertheless, they can still have a powerful presence. Therefore, I believe there should be standards to this position. Journalistic curators should be knowledgeable about the stories they post, and they should definitely include an analysis of their findings.

May 10, 2011
10:47 am
#54 Andy Nathan :

I could definitely user a curator just to sort out all of the information that I receive for my business. Maybe a personal curator.

May 19, 2011
8:33 pm
#55 Anthony Thompson :

To me curation sounds like it’s needed when writing blogs or articles. Curation sounds compaaible to works cited in English. You have to be credible about the stuff you wtite and if you don’t then nobody will ever take your work seriously.

Curators help you to sort your information out and get exactly what you need also. So this is a big help.

Dec 13, 2011
10:52 pm
#56 Glenna Richardson :

Surely the role is either a feature editor or journalist. I have to admit, I’ve never thought about any of this before. And what if I pen original work of my own? I would call the journalist a science writer or journalist not a curator.

Mar 24, 2012
5:31 pm

Fantastic blog you have here but I was curious
if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get advice from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

Author Mar 28, 2012
10:39 pm
#58 Shari Weiss :

join any one of a number of LinkedIn groups

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