Role of journalist seen as evolving to curating the stream; wasn’t it always?

Ex-network TV producer Steven Rosenbaum, in a new book, “Curation Nation: How to Win in a World Where Consumers are Creators,” argues the information stream is growing so fast we are being overwhelmed. The value of journalists will be in curating the stream, he asserts. The role is not new.

Curation Nation

” . . . [A]s information gets messier and noisier, those who possess the skills to recognize important stories, find themes, provide context, and explain the significance of pieces of information will be critically important,” writes Rosenbaum, the CEO of His book self-review is on the Nieman Reports website.

What I find interesting about this theory — which I agree with and which is a key point of our white paper, “From Paper to Persona” — is that  the role described is not new. Curating the stream was always the role of journalists. We used to call it editing. It’s just that the biggest stream is now digital, where it used to be physical — around the community, on the street, among real friends not Facebook “friends.”

So are we talking about a real change in the role of the journalist as much as merely a change in the tools of the trade — how to tame and understand digital stream. Meantime, we need also not to lose sight of the fact that there are still **real** streams out there — via our neighbors, our communities, our workplaces and water coolers — which remain rich sources of news, tips and information.

I was among folks who started using the “curation” word several years ago to describe a new role for journalists. At the time it seemed like a way to make a statement that the old ways had to change. But now that we see the change, clearly, in the infostreams, maybe it’s time to acknowledge that editing is a good thing, and perhaps an important addition to curation.


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