Aggregation: The new blogging frontier or editing aggravation?

17 Jan

The debate rages on as to whether news aggregation websites such as The Huffington Post and the like are a revolutionary medium for the new media information age or yet another way that the YouTube Generation is becoming lazier and lazier with each passing tweet.

Reports that the new HuffPost Miami is guilty of perjury and improper attribution on its website have certainly fanned the fire against the practice for traditional news sites, such as The Miami Herald. An article from Wired from December 2008 goes on to illustrate gripes from the alternative weekly Chicago Reader, using wholesale samples from its concert reviews.

However, many are arguing that these mainstream sources are missing the whole point of the idea behind news aggregation and are focusing instead on the few instances of poor professional practice. The Miami New Times Blog pointed out that newspapers — the Miami Herald in particular — do not generally link to the extraneous information they gather for articles, whereas direct attribution is the standard for news aggregation websites. In addition, it goes on to directly refute reporters’ arguments about traffic diversion  by pointing out how the links provided within the aggregated articles direct large amounts of traffic to the original news source.

The onus falls on the writer of the article to fairly serve both its audience and sources, and I believe this Poynter article does an excellent job addressing this issue after the controversial departure of its leading columnist and voice. Jim Romenesko. Josh Voorhees, editor of The Slatest, pointed out the difference between the scoop driving the story and the story driving the scoop. This distinction is important to note what has become more important to the target audience — where or how the story broke or the core information of the story itself.

At its core, the idea of aggregation has good intentions to encourage the spread of news. An enforced set of journalistic standards would solve many — although not all — of the problems associated with questionable attribution practices and could solidify aggregation as a legitimate, ethical news practice.

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2 Responses to “Aggregation: The new blogging frontier or editing aggravation?”

  1. Ronald R. Rodgers January 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Succinct synthesis on aggregation. Well edited. However, some discussion on curation would have been appreciated.

  2. Ronald R. Rodgers January 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    The above was my not on first read earlier. To add: Overall, while good synthesis written with a voice, the quality of this falls high under Good on the Rubric – though it fails except for one link to incorporate “the work or experiences of other students, scholars and experts.”
    And as I noted before, it does not address curation in any meaningful way.

    Also, try for a better headline rather than the label hed now on board.

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