Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Here’s how The New York Times tested blockchain to help you identify faked photos on your timeline
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Dec. 21, 2011, 2 p.m.

Vadim Lavrusik: Curation and amplification will become much more sophisticated in 2012

A big question for the coming year: How will the right communities get the right kind of news?
Editor’s Note: We’re wrapping up 2011 by asking some of the smartest people in journalism what the new year will bring.

Next up is Vadim Lavrusik, Journalist Program Manager at Facebook.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to build a sustainable journalism model. Better than it was before. Better, stronger, faster.

Okay, putting “Six Million Dollar Man” theme aside, I do believe every word of that. And here’s a small sliver of the way I think the process can be improved: curating information in a way that both puts it in proper context for consumers and amplifies the reporting of the citizenry.

For the last year, much of the focus has been on curating content from the social web and effectively contextualizing disparate pieces of information to form singular stories. This has been especially notable during breaking news events, with citizens who are participating in or observing those events contributing content about them through social media. In 2012, there will be even more emphasis not only on curating that content, but also on amplifying it through increasingly effective distribution mechanisms.

Because anyone can publish content today and report information from a breaking news event, the role journalists can play in amplifying — and verifying — that content becomes ever more important. Contributed reporting from the citizenry hasn’t replaced the work of journalists. In fact, it has made the work of journalists even more important, as there is much more verification and “making sense” of that content that needs to be done. And journalists’ role as amplifiers of information is becoming more crucial.

What does that mean? It means journalists using their skills to verify the accuracy of claims being made on social media and elsewhere, and then effectively distributing that verified information to a larger audience through their publications’ community of readers and fact-checkers on the social web.

Curation itself will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. As the year has gone on, breaking news itself has taken on new forms beyond the typical chronological curation of a live event. In the new year, we’ll also see new curated story formats. And we’ll see new tools that allow those formats to take life.

But the mentality of content curation needs to evolve, as well. It’s still very much focused on how to find and curate the content around a news event or story, but much like the old model of content production, there is still little emphasis on making sure that the content is effectively distributed, across platforms and communities. The cycle no longer stops after a piece is written or a story is curated from the social web. The story is ever evolving, and the post-production is just as important.

Though there are plenty of journalists doing a great job at recognizing that — and though news organizations themselves are increasingly putting emphasis on content amplification — the creation of content, rather than the distribution of it, remains the primary focus of news outlets.

The coming year will see a more balanced approach. Whether it’s a written story or one curated from the citizenry using social media tools, we will see a growing emphasis placed on content amplification through distribution, and an increasing effort to ensure that the most accurate and verified information is reaching the audience that needs it. Information will, in this environment, inevitably reach the citizenry; at stake is the quality of the information that does the reaching. If content is king, distribution is queen.

Image by Hans Poldoja used under a Creative Commons license.

POSTED     Dec. 21, 2011, 2 p.m.
PART OF A SERIES     Predictions for Journalism 2012
SHARE THIS STORY
   
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Here’s how The New York Times tested blockchain to help you identify faked photos on your timeline
“What we saw was a tendency to accept almost all images at first glance, regardless of subject area.”
Public infrastructure isn’t just bridges and water mains: Here’s an argument for extending the concept to digital spaces
“Our solutions cannot be limited to asking these platforms to do a better job of meeting their civic obligations — we need to consider what technologies we want and need for digital media to have a productive role in democratic societies.”
This former HBO executive is trying to use dramatic techniques to highlight the injustice in criminal justice
And hopefully to make some good TV along the way. Kary Antholis’ site Crime Story uses “a much more thematic, character-driven way of exploring these stories than how traditional media might pursue.”