The Role Of Curation In Journalism
from the don't-knock-it dept
Jay Rosen points us to an article out of France that takes a stab at presenting what a modern internet-era newsroom should look like. The point that I find most interesting, that helped clarify a few different ideas for me, is that it splits “journalism” into three distinct categories, all of which have a role in the newsroom:
- Reporters — who go out and do first person reporting — creating original stories, not just reposting rewritten wire copy.
- Columnists — who “start conversations and give stories another perspective.”
- Curators — who “‘cover’ the news by sorting, verifying and editing live everything good existing on the web and in the media. They make link journalism, they make the news more accessible.”
Now, this is interesting in a few respects. First, many “reporters” today don’t really do what is described as reporting above. That is, they often do try to take wire copy or stories that were written elsewhere, and go through the wasted process of “re-reporting” them just to pretend it’s a new and unique story for that publication. In many ways, this is a waste of resources. What would be better is if they actually encouraged #3 above — let a “curator” handle that sort of news.
Unfortunately, for the most part, newspapers seem to look down on “curating” as if it’s some sort of lesser form of journalism, and this is a sticking point that they’re going to need to get past if they want to understand how people engage with the news today. These days, everyone is a curator of the news in some fashion: they share news, comment on it, post about it, etc. But they also look to the “pros” to add more value to it as well. But if the traditional press looks down on this function, they won’t do a particularly good job of it. It’s sometimes tough for a press who used to want itself to be “the final word” on every story to admit that others may have reported it better/faster, as well as the fact that sometimes it’s better to involve the community, rather than treating the community as riffraff waiting for the word from the god-like journalists.
If a newsroom were set up with a focus on those three roles (I would add editors as well…), with the understanding that they work together as a team to both bring the most information and community to a particular story, I doubt we’d see newspapers struggling as much as they are today.