Jessica M. Levine

Is Curation Journalism?

I am a strong believer in a broader definition of journalism.  As long as something allows for the exchange of information and for people to engage with that information I think it can be considered journalism.  So yes, curation is journalism.

I am going to use Billy Baker’s tweet story to further analyze how curation is journalism. Baker used a series of tweets to relay the incredible journey that a student experienced and persevered through to get into his dream school, Yale.  First of all, this curation of tweets tells a story.  This is a fantastic example of journalism because the story is engaging and emotional.  Also, by following the time stamps the audience can see that Baker is tweeting in the moment as he waits for the news of George’s fate.

In an article for Poynter, Roy Peter Clark analyzes a journalistic theory by Josh Benton that discusses the significance of real time reporting.  According to Benton, real time reporting, which means in the moment, is more natural  because it occurs right after an event.  I agree with Benton, and I believe that this is significant in a narrative because emotions and details fade with time.  Baker’s “in the moment” reporting allowed the audience to engage more with the material because they could experience the story in real time and continuously receive updated information.

As heartwarming and uplifting as Baker’s tweet story is, I think it is flawed.  An audience member logging on to Twitter would have to scroll to the beginning of Baker’s stream in order to understand the information.  Amy Gahran attributes this flaw to technology and packaging tools that journalists use.  This is an issue prevalent in journalism today, and it must be changed.  Gahran suggests that each module of a story should be linked in some way.  I think Baker should have tweeted to a hashtag to allow his audience to follow that hashtag and locate each module of his story.  This also would have made the curation process more efficient. It also would have allowed the audience to engage with the information on another level because they also could tweet to the hashtag.

Speaking of hashtags, curation is a new form of journalism that uses many of the elements, like links and filters, discussed by Kira Goldenberg to enhance the exchange of information.  Furthermore, as part of the new journalism, Baker’s tweets, Twitter and social media alike create an awareness system.  This system, like Baker’s constant stream of tweets, alerts journalists and readers to what is going on in the world in a fast and efficient way.  Although 140 characters may seem like a small number, it is enough to engage the audience, and when a series of tweets or other social media posts are curated like Baker’s, the twee becomes a narrative.

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This entry was posted on February 25, 2014 by in Discussion and Debate, Journalism Advice and tagged .
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