Twenty years ago, the Internet was hailed as a great tool for “disintermediating” the public from its news. The big news organizations had too much power, they had too much control over what we said and heard, often slanting it to suit their own purposes. In the future, it was believed, we could “cut out the greedy middlemen,” the reporters and editors and aggregators that colored “the truth,” connecting readers directly to their news sources.
We accomplished the goal, but the result has been less than perfect. We are drowning in a flood of meaningless drivel, with no professionals to place it into context for us. This same flood has washed away most of our great media and news-gathering institutions, bankrupting nearly all of the major newspapers and dismantling the great network news organizations, leaving those who would gladly pay for a little “intermediation” with few choices. (Funny video: “Twouble with Twitters“)
Cheer up, for the pendulum is swinging back. It turns out that we are NOT staring the future in the face, we are just suffering a little market adjustment. The role of the editor is on the rise again, but we don’t call them “editors” anymore, they’re “curators.”
Curation is the new role of media professional; aggregating, sorting and classifying. The pieces aren’t really big enough to edit anymore. They are just sorted, classified and rearranged. This is what bloggers do, and it’s what I’m doing right now.
- Silicon Alley Insider, “Can ‘Curation’ Save Media?”