How News Is Repeated. And Repeated. And …

An advanced class I teach at our college is full of bright future leaders – and none of them read a newspaper. As a public relations professional I actually find that heartening as I hope it means they look to multiple resources for news – almost all of them online. This next generation will be very different, but I believe they are on the right track too.

Businesses used to live and die by the coverage received by a newspaper journalist. After all one journalist could tell a story – good or bad – to tens of thousands of readers. If that story was positive sales and stock prices went up, the reverse could happen if the story was full of negative elements. No more. Newspapers no longer rule, but news still does.

The trick was for the public relations person to know the journalists and use that relationship to have credibility when pitching an employer or a client’s news. Don’t ever think this is still not the case – possibly more so. However today you need to know many more journalists from many more news platforms.

If you think you are being bombarded with news sources, imagine the in-box of a journalist, blogger or news aggregator.

What’s a news aggregator you ask? In today’s world it means a news website that searches the Internet (including Tweets, blogs, YouTube, TV, radio, websites etc.) for specific words and then repeats what they find on their own site. Yahoo (tops in sports and finance), Google, Microsoft and others who “customize” news to fit your selected criteria.

It’s known as “rich news” – a specific example of this are food websites that search overnight for news connected to food, restaurant, people, recipes, vending machines, trends etc that relate to the food industry and could be of interest to their readers. Overnight they search and by morning these websites are full of exactly the kind of news (rich, not diluted) their readers want. A wonderful concept and I am a subscriber to a host of these time-saving information sites. For your own list of tech related news, try www.techlicious.com.

The big controversy right now is whether or not these aggregators are giving credit to the media outlets and journalists who did the research, writing, photography, graphics etc. that are “aggregated” or repeated. Should an aggregator profit from someone else’s work?

A group is now designing symbols they hope will be used by aggregators and others to show where the original content came from or even if they used a portion of another story …. All important as we keep quality journalism a high priority.

Next time you feel like you’ve seen that story before – you can probably thank an aggregator, but soon we’ll be able to also thank the journalist too.

One thought on “How News Is Repeated. And Repeated. And …

  1. Hi Laura,

    I just came across your article and found it an interesting read. The journalism business is certainly changing, with many outlets playing the role of both originators and aggregators. Even top news sites, like the New York Times, will reports stories based on what another news outlet is reporting if that outlet has unique information.

    I’m also very happy to hear that you’re enjoying Techlicious. We’re actually primarily not an aggregator, most of our stories are based on direct conversations with manufacturers, hands-on with products and primary research. We do occasionally base a story on news that was reported elsewhere, but always try to validate the facts and provide our own perspective before we publish it to our readers. And, where applicable, link back to the original story for proper credit.

    Best regards,
    Josh Kirschner
    Founder, Techlicious

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