Curation in journalism is a gathering of articles or content together, then publication of that content within one primary resource for readers. Curation involves three main steps:
- Collection of potential content from different writers, creative talents and resources, such as online materials or journalists in the field
- Analysis of the content to determine most ethical and accurate representation of the subject matter
- Publication and dissemination of that content to readers, viewers or listeners
Curation is not new to journalists, as producers and editors have always pulled together content from assigned field personnel for publication or broadcast. The work has just changed for journalists, in that there is less investigative seeking of story material and more gathering of subject matter from resources such as other writers, web portals, shared amateur content and unmet experts. Mainstream media, bloggers, content sharing sites, social media and other resources available at one’s fingertips enable journalists to filter story information and content, more than they must actively pursue it in the field or on a beat.
Advantages of Journalistic Curation
There are multiple advantages of employing journalistic curation, in lieu of developing story topics, conducting research and interviews, writing content and then publishing. Some of those advantages are below:
- The collaborative environment of journalistic curation enables more rapid reporting of stories or information.
- Content curation can be used to supplement old fashioned journalistic story writing, to provide a fuller and richer reader experience.
- Journalistic curation creates partnerships between like-minded journalists or publications.
- Curation enables reporting on subject matter geographically unreachable or otherwise inaccessible to the journalist, using others’ firsthand points of view and media.
- Curation provides a wider variety and greater diversity of “voices” and perspectives, without employing multiple journalists.
- Curation is far more cost-effective in quality news delivery, than beat assignments or a face-to-face journalistic approach.
- Journalistic curation on the web provides great visibility for the publication through greater depth of content delivery and inherent search optimization.
Opportunities of Journalistic Curation
There are four primary stakeholders in the process of curation, each presenting opportunities for the journalist. Those include:
- Reader or end user: The journalistic curator has the opportunity to more deeply engage readers and capture a broader audience through delivery of broader, richer content experiences. A bigger, more engaged and more active readership develops through quality use of curation.
- Journalist, publication or curator: Through curation, the journalist is able to present high quality material with less time spent in the trenches. In essence, output of content is greater and more diverse.
- Partner or source of the original content: When content is curated, a partnership develops between the original author and the curating entity or journalist. That forges a two-way relationship of reciprocal content exchange and, as a result, readership development on both ends of the partnership.
- Content subject primaries or brands: For subjects or brands included within curated content, a larger audience is exposed to their story, message, information or offerings. For the journalist, this is leverage in gaining higher quality quotes, perspectives and engagements from experts for original content and from content curated from other sources.
Challenges of Journalistic Curation
While the benefits and opportunities of journalistic curation outweigh its problems, the biggest challenges are those founded in journalistic integrity. That is, no journalist really “owns” their own stories or images, anymore.
Written materials, photographs and other media are all routinely pirated throughout the web and from print materials. Ego of the old-fashioned beat reporter and the “exclusive” no longer apply within today’s news career.
Today’s journalist must be accepting of some degree of personal release of originally developed content, while educating others on how to use their work in an approvable and acceptable manner. To do this, the journalist should start by setting a good example in ethically crediting original sources of curated content.