Mar 19, 2012

“New” Journalists Master Curation for Creation: A Lesson from @kashhill @Forbes

Over the last few years, I have been asked to speak on online content curation and the social web. What first distinguished my presentations from others is that I expressed the importance of bringing a “point of view” to curation. Early on, there was little distinction between curation and aggregation from experts. It is my belief that your taste and a personal lens for finding, collecting and repackaging content sets you apart from others sharing similar content online.

Master curators are able to get to the essence of an idea behind a piece of content and share it in a way that makes it attractive online. My analogy is that a curator is like a D.J. How the content is “mixed” is just as important as what is mixed. Your “mix” can make you a thought leader.

Curating to create
Many don’t realize that curators use their curation skills to also create content. In a visual form, a great example of collecting to create is the popular curation tool Pinterest.  When curating to create for an online audience, brevity is key.

Most readers online are looking for something quick and easy to digest. ~ Kashmir Hill

A great case study from Kashmir Hill of Forbes

In “NYT Reporter Defends Forbes Writer Accused of Stealing His Work,” Jim Romenesko describes how Kashmir Hill of Forbes “repackaged” the work of Charles Duhigg’s nine-page piece in the New York Times, “How Companies Learn Your Secrets.”

Hill’s condensed post in Forbes netted over over 1.2 MILLION views and was shared widely on the social web!

I took a great piece by an excellent reporter and created a version of it that was better for an online audience. This is a big part of what I do as a “new journalist.”

Excerpts, links and “chunking” 

My piece didn’t take off just because of its sexy, tweetable title — though that helped — but because I found what was most compelling in a nine-page piece and put it front and center (while including lots of links back to the original article). The New York Times article is a delicious nine-course dinner; mine is an equally tasty, bite-sized snack for readers on the go.

 I suspect I drove a ton of traffic to the New York Times that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten because they hadn’t sold their story quite as well as I did and didn’t create a short version of it that was easy to share and digest online.~ Kashmir Hill

In Romenesko’s piece it is suggested that, “the New York Times should consider having their own bloggers tackle long pieces like this and chunk them up for the online crowd – a tactic the Wall Street Journal has effectively employed.”

Hill’s point that she included lots of links back to the original article is how she provided attribution. A condensed piece hooks readers, but also gives them access (links) to explore ideas and dig deeper.

Author Angela Dunn (@blogbrevity55) is the founder of @CurationZen11 and hosts #ideachat on Twitter.  This post originally appeared on her Blogbrevity blog.

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