From Gatekeeper to Curator

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Good Old Trend

I’ve been meeting with a lot of journalists lately, discussing the new role of journalism and media. My presentation at Hej!2007 and Reboot9 takes up the issue, but I thought I’d lift out one statement which really says it all:

Journalists need to go from being gatekeepers to being curators.

Old Media have been holding people and their stories out for ages. When I worked at Sydsvenskan, we had a person that only worked with keeping in contact with the readers. Sounds like a good idea. But often enough, the job was to keep people away from the journalists in question. Sometimes getting leads, but then following them themselves. A classic gatekeeper.

Let’s look at the opposite. Imagine an art curator running a gallery for instance. You don’t go to the gallery because you necessarily know the artist exhibiting, but you trust the curator enough to go anyway. You respect his/her taste and choices enough to check it out.

Today, what old media has is a brand which is (hopefully) filled with trust and credibility. This compared to your average blog at least. I think they need to leverage that trust and start becoming the hub about what’s going on in the world, rather than having to report about it themselves. If the newspaper says that a certain blog has a good post on the issue, people will click to read it. They could find themselves, but only with great difficulty and without guarantees of finding anything worth while.

A new type of journalism is evolving. Picking out the best stories, pictures, videos and anything else being produced – and then editing it together into a new piece. Adding context, background and analysis. If they start having that approach, I think old media is going to thrive in this information filled society.

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