the transition to digital journalism
Aggregators - Selecting and Sharing Content
Some of the most popular news sites on the web are aggregators that pull together news stories produced by a wide variety of other news organizations.
The aggregators usually do a better job of packaging and presenting the stories than the original sites. And they take advantage of social media to extend their reach to people and dissseminate their content.
Social Media Aggregators
Some aggregators are citizen journalism based. So rather than having professional editors at news organizations determine the important stories of the day, people are taking on this role themselves at aggregation sites where users select and share what they deem the most important news or websites.
Users submit stories or websites to be listed on the aggregation sites, and other users then vote on or help rank the importance of the stories or sites and how prominently they should be displayed.
Examples of these social media aggregators include:
- Reddit - a news stories aggregator that was purchased in 2006 by magazine publisher Conde Nast.
- Mixx - Their motto: "So why should some faceless editor get to decide what's important? But now you're in charge. You find it; we'll Mixx it."
- Delicious - people submit bookmarks of their favorite websites to share them with others. The bookmarks are arranged topically and are ranked by the most popular submissions. You also can find the personal bookmarks of the person who posted them.
- Digg - a news stories aggregator, at which a vote for a story is called a "digg" (Digg was sold in 2012 and is being relaunched as a different service)
- StumbleUpon - another site for sharing favorite websites.
- Publish2 - this site is designed for news organizations that want their journalists to share links on news stories and have those links aggregated on the publication's website.
Aggregators also have widgets people can use to embed story feeds on their blogs, websites or personal pages on social networks.
And news websites can place icons for the aggregation services at the end of stories, so readers can click on the icons to submit the stories for inclusion in the listings by the aggregators.
See for example, the CNN website. Click on a story there, scroll to the end and click on the Share button.
Computer Algorithm Aggregators
Other services like Google News rely on computer algorithms to aggregate links to news stories.
Professionally Edited Aggregators
Then there are human edited aggregators that employ professional journalists to curate content. Many of these sites also are increasingly employing journalists to produce original content. They include:
- Huffington Post that publish articles that summarize and link to stories at other news publications. Huffington Post, which is owned by AOL, has been criticized by some journalists because traffic to a Huffington Post article often dwarfs traffic to the originally reported story being summarized. See also this video of Arianna Huffington and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong teaching journalism to a class at a Brooklyn middle school.
- Business Insider
- Newser (motto: "read less know more")
News sites also often have blogs or other features that aggregate or curate links to stories published elsewhere.
Resources and Readings
- News Organizations That Haven’t Learned To Share - Columbia Journalism Review, 5/7/2012
- How 18-Year-Old Morgan Jones Told The World About The Aurora Shooting - BuzzFeed, 7/20/2012. How Reddit was used to post updates on the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, CO, that killed a dozen people.