Boothe's 4202 Blog

How the Internet and Technology is changing Editing

Week 1 Readings: Curation and Aggregation

with one comment

Journalism is changing. Information is overflowing. And I’m becoming squeamish.

After reading through some of the squabbles between competing news sites and blogs over who has the right to aggregate or not, I could not help but to revisit how my own stories are being linked or sourced on the Internet.

In the sports world, it’s tasking for a lone reporter covering a team over an entire season to write about every nuance that occurs both on and off the court.  While writing about the UF men’s basketball team this season, I’ve had several of my stories linked on places that the Independent Florida Alligator competes with like Alligator Army and Gatorzone.

The way these sites aggregate articles is perfect. A quick, punchy lede or description of the story and the reader can click away to a new window if he or she pleases.

However, when looking at the aggregation techniques of publications like the Huffington Post, the need to leave the site is eliminated. All of the pertinent information is ripped from the original and already posted in the “new” story. Though the Huff Post tries to broaden the understanding of a topic – like it did with the teen texting and driving piece – through additional links, its methods discourage people from visiting the original source.

The site will provide the link, such as it did with the Miami Herald, but why would anyone click? They’ve already been inundated with every important facet of the story. There needs to be standards with aggregation. It’s OK to link but just don’t copy.

Speaking of copying, I was curious to read how hot news laws can be an excuse for its occurrence in the HuffPost versus the Herald debate. Back in March 2010, I wrote a feature for the Alligator on a UF football player who was playing rugby, which was a really popular story on our site and spread through sports message boards. About a month later, I found some of my quotes and several passages being used in a Union-Daily Times (S.C.) feature on the same player, who was a local star in high school before coming to Florida.

There was no attribution, link or mention of the Alligator in the new story at all. Without it, I don’t think the story can be simply called aggregation. Instead, it now looks like sloppy reporting if plagiarism.

Curation sidenote: I had never heard of curation in journalistic terms before entering JOU4202 but I found Professor McAdams’ take on the new job description really exciting in its possibilities. I’ve always thought of an editor as a tailor, trimming away the excesses in stories and adding length or style to a piece that doesn’t quite look right. But on the web, there definitely is a need more sweeping hand to guide the reader through all of the information that is available.


Written by jboothe

January 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I like how your own experiences inform this essay. Well edited. However, I would like you to try for a better headline on these just to practice writing online heds. Thanks for the mention about curation. I would have liked to have seen a bit more elaboration on this topic. It is one of the futures of journalism. I think there were a few other links you could have included in this.
    See Reference and Support on Rubric. You have all the other Rubric elements in this.

    Ronald R. Rodgers

    January 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm

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