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ISOJ 2011

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  1. 1. What Aggregators Do: Discourse, Practice, and Digital “Things” C.W. Anderson College of Staten Island (CUNY) April 02, 2011 Twitter: @chanders Website:
  2. 2. A Transition Paper  From the study of journalistic authority  To the study of journalistic things
  3. 3. The Authority of Journalism  Reporting  Carried out on behalf of “the public”  So, what is “reporting”?
  4. 4. Aggregation and “On the Ground” Reporting …  … Are valorized as different, via public discourse but  … Are, in practice, entangled and identical but  … Are different, when it comes to the universe of evidence they inhabit (???)
  5. 5. FCC Hearing: March 2010
  6. 6. Themes in March 2010 Hearing  Valorization of “original reporting” • Good for democracy  What “original reporting” means is self-evident  Conversations about technology name the “enemy”: • aggregation  Aggregation is the enemy in copyright / economic terms  Aggregators means “Google.”
  7. 7. Qualitative Interviews With Aggregators
  8. 8. Themes from 2009-2010 Interviews  Aggregation concerned with coordinating the content flow of non-employees  Immediate immersion on the “digital flood”  Moments of creative happiness overwhelmed by work & drudgery  Primary skill: news judgment  Aggregation: “the elite”; reporting: “old fogies,” “dying.”  News organizations report and aggregate  Aggregator and Aggregatee  We aggregate the internet.
  9. 9. From Practices to Things
  10. 10. Below Hybridity  What is the dominant realm from which we gather evidence?  “What we do as aggregators isn’t about journalism. It’s about making sense of the internet.” Traditional journalism had “always been about making sense of the public, and about your local community, but with the internet, we aggregators need to make sense of this digital world. It’s why the Huffington Post, for example, has the guts to call an ‘internet newspaper.’ It’s about the internet. It isn’t about journalism, at least the way we’ve always thought of journalism up until now.”
  11. 11. So, what are the things we use to build our journalism?