Content curation and journalism in the age of fake news
Back in March, I wrote about the death of content curation using Medium’s recent changes as an example — the service seems to be metamorphosing into a sub-Substack of sorts.
But here I’d like to think a bit more about content curation and its relationship with journalism and less about Medium.
In 2009 I joined Global Voices Online, a collective of volunteer journalists, human rights activists and translators that curate content from all over the world and translate it into several languages. Our work was basically to collect blog posts, social media comments and piece them together with the most important news (arts, culture, politics, human rights, etc) of almost every country on earth.
In a sense, Global Voices was (and is) a journalistic experience that amplifies the voices of people all over the world, curating relevant content, analysing the news, and translating it so thousands and even millions of people could have access to it.
Not very different from a newspaper, although obviously more focused on human stories, development, inequality, etc.
Journalism is, in a sense, content curation. Is gathering information and making sense of it, translating scattered pieces of information and delivering it in a package that’s digestible to the public. It is obvious that journalism is not neutral, nor impartial — and it shouldn’t be.
Good journalism has no problem in making it clear where it stands, whose side is on, but seeking as much transparency as possible.
Anyway, a news outlet has a reputation, and above all, has standards, guidelines, often have ombudsmen or ombudswomen, a team that edits, that selects the best content and professional writers dedicated to covering the news. It’s a team effort. Not free from mistakes, obviously.
Then the internet came. And with the internet, blogs, social media, everybody can speak, the news don’t belong to newspapers anymore, but to citizen journalists, to anyone with a camera, a phone… There’s a bright side, but also the downside.
If on the one hand local communities can have their voices heard without a middleman, on the other hand, content became dispersed, sometimes hard to find and…