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Branding Content Curation at Reuters

Are you doing content cuation in your reporting? If not, you're probably disappointing more than 60% of your readers—and missing a great opportunity for audience engagement. Reuters recognizes the value of curation and has launched a "curation only" site—Counterparties. Megan Garber’s report and analysis of Counterparties highlights a skill that many journalists can sharpen to make reporting more valuable—content curation.  

As a journalist covering a story or, even better, covering your beat you are in a key place to tame the firehose of web information drenching your readers. Turning that high-pressure gush into a cup of soothing, useful information is high value for your audience.

Felix Salmon and Ryan McCarthy are the creators of Counterparties. Garber reports that while the site uses tech to collect financial stories, each story is curated by a real human. Garber quotes Salmon as saying, “Counterparties is based on, literally, my Google Reader list of blogs that I read and my list of people I follow on Twitter.” While Counterparties is focused on financial news, Garber points out, “Counterparties’ logic — journalists’ personal feeds creating Drudge-like linkblogs — could easily be applied to other verticals, and other journalists.”

Curation—finding and linking to high-quality content relevant to a reporter’s story—has been a hard sell at some news organizations. The idea of sending a reader off the news site to a competitor’s site is a bad idea—and sometimes forbidden—at some news organizations. This view is decaying as newsrooms have fewer resources and as reader’s make it clear that linking to related content is an important expectation. The January 2010 Pew Internet Survey found that “Links to related material” was the number one most popular feature of online news consumers.


Content Curation Research from Pew Research

Counterparties purpose is to surface excellent contemporary content and send readers away to read the article. Garber quotes Salmon, “We don’t want people to stay on that site. We just want people to go away.” 

 “And then,” McCarthy says, “to come back.”

Coming back is the key to content curation. A news organization’s goal isn’t to be a good source of information. A news organization that is “of the web” and not “on the web” should be to be the go-to source of information for the reader. 

Curation is work and technology can help. Here are some tech tools that make reporting—and content curation—a bit more systematic. 

Content Curation Tools for Journalists

  • Google Reader (link is to a tour of GR. any RSS Reader is fine... GR is a solid choice) (free).
  • Google Alerts allow you to keep up-to-the minute on your topic (free) Note that you can have G.Alerts automatically go to your RSS Reader.
  • Twitter Lists allow you to follow the key people in your field (free).
  • DevonAgent is a powerful and highly efficient web research tool (free trial).
  • Delicious and Pearltrees are both good tools for content discovery. (both free)
  • Storify a leading choice for aggregating content and "weaving" a story. Here's an example using 9/11 coverage. (free)
  • Bundlr is another flexible aggregation tool. Here's an example using John Lee Hooker. Here's a review of key features and Storify differences. (free)

If you're unfamiliar with the why and how of content curation here are some resources that will help get you started.

Curation Basics

  • Curation Best Practices from LeadFormix. This is a business take on curation that covers the essential concepts and terms. A short, easy read.
  • Brand & Content curated by Morten Myrstad. A blog about content curation that actually uses content curation. Good links to examples and thoughts about how to use content curation. 
  • Content Curation by Nicole Hennig. Storify is a great tool for curating content. This Storify report is about content curation. 
Please post your own favorite curation tools and ideas in comments. 
Who do you think does a good job of content curation as part of his or her beat? I’m looking for examples of specific journalists who “get” the idea of adding value by curating content related to reporting.