Sunday, June 26, 2011

Is Curator Just Journalist By Another Name

Catching up on my PRSA Tactics while airborne to CoSIDA, a great article by Ryan Zuk talks about how content curation is the future (although the headline makes one believe it may be a bad thing).

He picks up a great Pew Research Center stat that in 2011 the amount of time spent consuming on-line news exceeded time spent with newspapers. As an aside, I've questioned a little on the methodology on that report - was content created by newspapers (or other legacy media like broadcast/cable networks) segregated out of the time on on-line?  Is this more a reflection of how news is consumed rather than the source? I digress.

Zuk gives solid definitions for the uninitiated on what constitutes an information curator and curator editors.

"Information curators are trusted editors to those who follow them, and this results in communication potential for PR practitioners."

He continues with some ways to approach and what makes for better curation (mixing original content with linkage) and then, I stop dead in my tracks while reading this.

I jump immediately back to his 140 line: Information curators are trusted editors to those who follow them.

Um, once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, didn't we call those people . . . . journalists?

The bloggeratti scream: Blasphemer! Heretic!

At the least, aren't your being so quaintly 20th century.

Think about it. Another blind to the obvious underlying human communication going on here.

Classically defined, what does a journalist do? Go out and find out stuff for the public that the public doesn't have time to do itself.  Gather that information from multiple sources.  Present it to us - and if we are being honest, with the writer's own original thinking stitching that information from sources together, interpreting it.

So because you do it with a bunch of links to the sources (hey, let's hear it for hyperlinks so we can read and judge for ourselves) that somehow makes it "content curation?"

Don't get me wrong, I've advocated this to mixed results for some time.  It is a very important tool for athletic departments and organizations to message strategically.  Why?  Because of the very reason given in Zuk's article by Michelle Golden:

"You can't fake an interest. You must be authentic to win."

Be genuine. Be honest. The rest will take care of itself. 

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