Every day there are ethical decisions that impact the hundreds or thousands of people who watch, read, listen, and/or click on a media source. The foundation for making the right decision starts with ethics classes in college. Students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism will use this blog to reflect on ethical questions in the media today.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Are aggregated news sites news?
"Aggregation and curation are techniques of using content from other sources to provide content for your audience. They occupy overlapping spaces..." (Buttry)
The Internet today is abuzz with scandals and breaking news, but how much of what we read or see can we trust? A popular site among millennials is BuzzFeed, a news site that aggregates most of its content from other sources but also buries it's deeper content under quizzes, videos and pop culture articles. BuzzFeed has slowly been losing its credibility as a news source after it's been revealed that multiple stories they've published have been hoaxes.
The site has recently been trying to up it's credibility by hiring copy editors and fact checkers to stay on the good side of the readers who actually want to read about what's going on in the world instead of finding out "Which Game of Thrones character are you?"
Another point that is often brought up is "who does the credit go to?" Often you can find under the comments section of Buzzfeed articles, people claiming that they "already saw this" on another news site and often times reddit (another aggregator). BuzzFeed on multiple occasions has not credited the original source of the content which frustrates readers and has decreased their trustworthiness.
Doubtfulnews.com is a site that provides readers with the knowledge they need to navigate the news on the Internet. It lists all of the sites that you should absolutely not trust, sites that you might be able to trust but should verify the content and satire sites that most people don't know is satire. From personal experience, this site is a handy tool when it comes to looking for accurate news content.
Is aggregation or curation ethical? Some people like original content even if the story only has one point or angle and some people only want to know what happened and don't care who's reporting on it. For news sites who don't have the resources to go out and get these stories for themselves or the photos and videos that would accompany it, aggregation is the way to go. For sites like BuzzFeed, this might even help them lure in readers who only came to the site to read about superficial things. When curating content, it's important to follow ethical steps to make yourself more reliable. First and foremost, credit the original source. This is the single most important step. Make sure the credit is visible and not somehow hidden. Try and make the content your own somehow. Revamp it and add original commentary. For readers like me, I like to look at the same news story on different platforms and sites because I'm always looking for updates on the story or someone else's opinion on the topic that isn't on other sites. If you can differentiate yourself from the competition, readers will enjoy that. You can also compare reports form other news sources to add to your story. Make sure the content that you are aggregating is actually from reliable sources. If you have the resources, fact check for yourself.