The Role of Curation in Developing and Transmitting News


Pull personalized News
A new frontier of opportunity is in the ways news is being developed, packaged, and transmitted.

Curated filters are becoming more interactive. From the New York Times offering personalized news recommendations, to this past week's launch of TheDaily, a subscription-based app for the iPad indexed by Andy Baio on the Web, and the upcoming release of News.me.

Personalization has been around for a while. However, there is some increasing experimentation on listening to and picking up or playing the news as it happens. Increasingly, the opportunity is in the field, where the news is developing — commentary, expertise, imagery, first person accounts, and so on.

Forget the press release. It was always just a delivery mechanism. Not the value itself.

All those pitching with one, do you copy this? Your "copy and paste" release in emails is just about as awkward as someone breaking out in song in the middle of a conversation. Except for the song would be more entertaining.

Curating news delivery

People are getting used to seeing what other people are reading and talking about out in the open — in public streams like Twitter and Facebook, as well as deeper features on blogs. Stories are being told in more than one dimension and shared across media. 

Mainstream media is launching initiatives that more closely align with this new reality. There are a couple of opportunities in news delivery in this movement for you as well:

  • starting with building a platform — where you literally begin the process of creating a content hub on one of your online properties to attract traffic, conversation, and conversion. In essence, you shift your approach from third parties writing the news to publishing it yourself
  • moving from the article to the topic — now your information changes from just about you to your commentary and expert opinion in your ecosystem — partners, customers, even competitors — aggregated and presented in a digestible format
  • expanding the organization's story — then telling that story in multiple formats, over time, helps you build context around an offering, how your product is used by customers, and so on

In other words, from your unique vantage point, you could be curating the news itself and showing the relationships around it.

Business is social

The most interesting aspect of the new trends in news capitalize of this idea that seeing what others in your stream are interested in is appealing. We're social animals, even as our time is more distributed — when we see the information varies. Business is inherently a social activity.

Any way you can find to let your customers see what other customers are reading, favoring, and sharing or saving for future reference gives you insight into what makes sense to produce content-wise. In other words, don't create in a vacuum, put yourself in the thick of things.

You can indeed curate and transmit news in novel ways. Execution matters, of course, just like with everything else in life. See Kenneth Cole… reactions, or rather those to his inappropriate statement. Always make sure you tweet while thinking.

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Here are some power tools for content aggregation and curation.

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0 responses to “The Role of Curation in Developing and Transmitting News”

  1. We really live in a time when we 100% need more curation and I think that for it to be most effective it will have to be done by humans. There is a certain amount that can be done with filters and customized news etc but I always find I miss some good information if I rely on that method alone.

  2. Very interesting post!
    People have been selecting, organizing and sharing information pretty much since information existed. We started to call it curation when we realized that less is more, that it was time to address information overload. As a natual consequence, curation tools of the first generation are filters: their mission is to facilitate the processing of inbound streams of information.
    Curation tools of the next generation are using curation as a mean of expression: by selecting their “best of the web”, by adding context and a personal touch to it, curators engage with their audience, they create outbound, interactive streams of information. So I definitively agree with your statement: “You can indeed curate and transmit news in novel ways”.
    (note: I’m a founder of Scoop.it, a publish-by-curation platform)

  3. And the filters may change over time, too. For example, I revisit my Google Reader monthly to recalibrate whether the blogs and publications I syndicate are giving me the information I need to continue to learn, etc.

  4. Welcome to the conversation, Marc. Curation is a skill that goes beyond what modern tools provide. There are so many who set up sites to just grab the RSS of blogs and republish; and bookmarklets make that easy. If you asked those people, they’d probably tell you they “curate” their social presences by selecting the best posts, when all they do is scrape content by others. A generation of tools that encourages original thought, citations vs. scraping or reposting, would be a step in the right directions. Early days indeed.

  5. Thank you Valeria. Cannot agree more, on both points: curation is a skill (hence, a human commitment, not any type of machine magic) and tools still have a long way to go.
    We at Scoop.it consider the curator as an Editor in chief. The tool suggests content (by searching the social web) but, upon “scooping” a content, the curator is invited to edit it, to add value to it.
    At the end of the day, a good tool should make it easy to find relevant content and to organize it in a personal way, but good curations come only from good curators.
    Please let me know if you are interested to try Scoop.it (we are private beta – early days :)), I’d be delighted to have your feed back, since I believe we agree on the mission 🙂

  6. @Marc — so far, the users I have seen have simply taken my content and that of others, not just the links… which to me is the anti-curation movement. No original thought added, just a clip of my post in some other guy’s front page. How is that adding value?

  7. @Valeria,
    To answer your question, I agree that a mere collection of clips is not a good curation (although identifying good content out of the information overload has value, one could claim). The curator selects content, of course, but then can add his personal touch: contextualization, comment, organization, etc. The mission of a good curation tool is to make this easy. Admittedly, some curators are actually just bookmarking. But I believe good curators will emerge and will gain reputation, based on their selection of content and also on their personal style.

  8. Yes, curation is important for news, but curation should be seen as a means to an end, not the end itself. It’s currently probably one of the most used, misused and abused words in the context of social media. But curation isn’t entirely dependent on social media, although it’s a part of it. Content/news curation has been around for a long time before social media. Social media and the real-time web amplify the news. Curation gives it another twist.

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