Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi
 


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Real-Time News Curation - The Complete Guide Part 3: Types And Real-World Examples

What's more important? To save editors time and abilities in finding and reporting the most relevant stories so that they can dwell more on content production, or to leverage to-the-max the power of new media technologies such as automated aggregators, search engines, or social analysis tools, to extract on auto-pilot the best content and news available out there?

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Photo credit: dizeloid

In part III of this guide to real-time news curation (Part I and Part II) you can find a full-blown showcase of real-world examples of good content curation, from basic lists to guides and news reporting, as well as some more traditional, or I should say, more familiar, examples of automated and semi-automated news aggregation.

I am certainly not trying to build a full and comprehensive list of all examples of curated news out there, but only a showcase of the best representative references I have been able to find during my research. There are probably a lot more, and I would truly appreciate your contributions to this, via the comments area at the end of this guide.

So this is by no means an attempt to rank or highlight the best out there, but only a dutiful report of what I have found during my investigation and I am very eager to discover more great examples to expand this collection.

If you have been wondering what is the difference between aggregated news and curated news, or what good curated content looks like, look no further. Here is the most interesting stuff I have found out there:




Part III: Curation Types and Real-World Examples

There exists many types of curation, and many ways to interpret what curation really is. As I have attempted to illustrate in Part II of this guide, in my own view, aggregation is automated and it is not the same as curation. As I wrote, "aggregation is automated, curation is manual".

This does not mean that curation does not need or can do altogether away of any form of automated aggregation or social-based filtering. These are in fact fantastic and irreplaceable tools for any serious content or news curator. But just like boiling water, salt and pasta don't make for an automatic great spaghetti dish, so curation too, generates its key added value by the very intervention of a human curator.

That is, curation for me, is by definition human-based. And even if you want to stretch it and question me about different forms of automated aggregation and filtering which amount, in their results to an apparently "curated" output, I will say that:

1. Even in the case of automated aggregation or filtering there has been a human hand in strategizing the approach and in coding and implementing the specific filtering and aggregation routines.

2. There is always ample margin for improvement upon automated results as the human mind can identify certain types of patterns and see possible relationships and connections in a much more flexible way than a machine can.

3. It is not that automated aggregation and filtering mechanisms cannot produce valuable information. It is rather that the news content generated by automated mechanisms and social filters can almost always be dramatically improved, enriched, augmented and expanded in many valuable ways, by human curation.

4. I have not yet been able to find any automated or socially filtered news channel that could not be significantly improved by the addition of a human curator.

But I also do recognize I am venturing in some uncharted new grounds and I am therefore open to question and evaluate my own above viewpoints also from other perspectives.

 



"I believe that there is a role for trusted curators of news, people who have unique access or unique insight, who can get to news more quickly than anybody else, or dive into it more deeply.

I believe that social similarities are a good hint at an individual's interests, but they cannot replace your own preferences - which go beyond your ability to fill out a form and try to tell the truth on what it is that you really like.

The best systems, as Gmail is trying to do (with some help from your own feedback on whether they are getting it right), happen naturally and transparently in the background.

It's natural I would think this given my work with my6sense, but I have long believed in there being a perfect place for humans to act as curators and guides, while there is another perfect place for machines to provide, to the best of their ability, resources to aid your discovery.

So when you are challenged with a mountain of information coming at you from any angle, think of the best way to get it handled. Should you turn to an editor, to the will of the people, to your friends, or to code?

The options are all there, and more tools are coming to help you attack the noise - because there's little chance it will fade away any time soon - and a very strong chance it could get much worse very quickly."

Louis Gray - The Five Stages of Filtering and Relevance

 


Here below, I have prepared a rich visual showcase of what different real-world examples of automated aggregation, socially filtered or mediated content and fully-curated solutions look like.

Again, I am not pretending in any way to provide a fully comprehensive catalog, nor to claim any best of category awards for these selections I have made. They are simply, to the best of my limited know-how in these areas, the best and most representative examples I have been able to find so far. (I would greatly appreciate, your contributions in terms of other great examples of content aggregation, filtering and curation that you are aware of, by way of the comments area at the end of this article.)

What I am rather trying to achieve is to provide enough of a "curated" compilation of examples to help those new and interested in this topic, to better understand what the results of such different approaches look like. By "showcasing" instead of just writing about it, I want to help "illustrate" the different types of aggregation filtering and human curation that I see out there.




Types of Curation




1. Curated News Summaries and Lists of Links
Curated lists and news summaries are concentrates of information, reduced to its smallest components. Keywords and links on a specific subject or theme.

2. Curated Guides and SuperGuides
Curated guides, are curated anthologies and digests on a very specific topic or theme, created by bringing together and organizing in the best possible way, the most useful content already available on that topic.

3. Crowdsourced Automated News Aggregators - Memetrackers
Memetrackers are content and news aggregation engines generally characterized by purely automatic operation in determining the most popular links. Memetrackers key benefit is the ability to aggregate existing web content under different topics, providing therefore an easier and more efficient way to scan and search for relevant info on different subjects.

4. Automated News Aggregators
Automated news aggregators bring together news from a pre-selected set of news sources providing automatic topic, source and chronological sorting and search functions.

5. Crowdsourced Curated News Aggregators
Crowdsourced curated news aggregators invite and accept news submissions from the crowd and then publish all of them utilizing different automated criteria to sort and organize them by freshness, popularity, topic and time.

6. Curated News Channels
Curated news channels, first aggregate and filter news content utilizing automated tools of which they control the inout, aggregation and filtering variables, and then place all content through a curated editorial workflow, that sorts, organizes and picks out the most relevant stories to publish.

7. Automated Real-Time Twitter News Channels
Automated real-time Twitter news aggregation channels bring together a pre-selected number of unique sources, generally selected through a human validation process, into an organic stream which can be viewed and browsed in a number of different ways.

8. Curated Video Channels
Curated video channels first privately aggregate the best video-based content produced and published online, and then manually curate-select the most interesting and relevant clips according to an editorial theme or to a set of predetermined categories-topics.




1) Curated News Summaries and Lists of Links

Curated lists and news summaries are concentrates of information, reduced to its smallest components. Keywords and links on a specific subject or theme.

 


Web Developer's Handbook

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A densely edited list of design resources for the advanced webmaster - web designer. Highly valued in its field.

 




Best Online Collaboration Tools - 2010-2011

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A navigable mindmap of over 300 online collaboration tools organized by categories. This list of links is updated weekly and represent the most comprehensive reference of such tools online.

 




FeedMyApp


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A daily list of links of new web 2.0 applications, tools and services, providing a thumbnail, a brief description and a link to the source.

 




Robin Good's Bookmarks


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My own list of selected picks saved as online bookmarks inside Delicious.

 




Twitter - Most Influential In Tech


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Robert Scoble's personally curated list of most influential people in technology.

 




Blogroll

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A list of recommended sites or blogroll from the blog Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta

 




News Summary


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A news summary with stories selected from other sites is now the prevailing format at alternative health site "Health Supreme" by Sepp Hasslberger



"Umberto Eco in an interview appearing at Spiegel Online discusses how human beings have been using lists to try and make sense of the world for quite some time. Eco states:

The list is the origin of culture. It's part of the history of art and literature.

What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order -- not always, but often.

And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible?

Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries."

Umberto Eco - Creating Order Out of Aggregation

 








2) Curated Guides and SuperGuides

Curated guides, are curated anthologies and digests on a very specific topic or theme, created by bringing together and organizing in the best possible way, the most useful content already available on that topic.

 


SEOMoz - SEO Factors - Most Important SEO Factors

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A curated guide to identify and understand the most relevant factors impacting SEO performance for a web site. The curation in this case is about gathering, editing and organizing the opinions and advices of a selected number of SEO experts on this specific matter.

 




RSSTop55 - Best RSS Directories and Search Engines

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A continuously updated directory of the best RSS search engines and directories, contains a few hundred entries which provide a short description, links and specific advice on how to submit a site.

 




Smashing Magazine - 25 Useful Videos and Presentations For Designers

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A curated guide to the best video clips and presentations for designers.

 




PCWorld - 50 Tools To Speed Up Your PC

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List of software tools that can help speed up computer performance.

 




MasterNewMedia - The Video Encoding Guide

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Guide bringing together the very best articles and information reports available online and regarding the video encoding process.

 




Social Media Examiner - Top 10 Facebook Pages

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An annotated guide to ten of the most interesting branded Facebook pages.

 




Tsunami 2005 - All of The Video Clips

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A multi-part curated video guide about the South-Asias Tsunami of 2005, created in the immediate afterhours of the tragic event with the goal of collecting the most relevant and interesting video clips from the event.

 








3) Crowdsourced Automated Aggregators - Memetrackers

Memetrackers are content and news aggregation engines generally characterized by purely automatic operation in determining the most popular links. Memetrackers key benefit is the ability to aggregate existing web content under different topics, providing therefore an easier and more efficient way to scan and search for relevant info on different subjects.

"WHEN Kevin Rose, a former host on the TechTV channel, created Digg in 2004 - before Facebook caught on and two years before Twitter's start - the idea of a "social news" site, with content chosen by citizen-editors, was novel.

"There's no handful of editors in a smoke-filled back room deciding which stories are important; the masses are deciding," Mr. Rose told Business 2.0 magazine in 2006."


Todd Wasserman - New York Times - Can Digg Find Its Way in the Crowd?

 


Digg.com

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Digg collects short-form content submissions from users, summarizing and pointing to existing content articles or other resources online. The stories can be sorted by popularity, freshness or topic.

 




Reddit

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Reddit is one of Digg main competitors and it uses a very similar approach to collect and organize user-selected content from the web.

 




Wikio

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Wikio is a second-generation crowdsourced aggregator or memetracker, and just like its competitors collects and organizes user submissions pointing to valuable content items published online.

 




Yahoo Buzz

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Yahoo Buzz aggregates and collects user submissions on anything from breaking stories on major news to viral videos on personal blogs. YB doesn't employ editors but utilizes the audience to receive story submissions, and to vote, comment and share published stories. By then looking at these indicators YB auto-publishes the most popular stories.

 








4) Automated News Aggregators

Automated news aggregators bring together news from a pre-selected set of news sources providing automatic topic, source and chronological sorting and search functions.

 


Google News

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Google News is the "news aggregator". It brings together the latest stories from hundreds of major newspapers and qualifying sites auto-organizing them by time and topics.

 




Megite

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Megite automatically aggregates news stories by thousands of different news sources and publishes them according to topics. It works and feel as a mix between Techmeme and Google News.

 




Topix

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Topic-based news aggregator Topix creates context for stories around the geo-location from which you are connecting. A Top 10 online newspaper destination (comScore, March 2008), the site links news from 50,000 sources to 360,000 lively user-generated forums.

 




NewsNow

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Newsnow is a standard automated news aggregator collecting stories form over 40,000 sources and organizing them both chronologically as well as by standard news categories.

 




Blogrunner - Technology

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Blogrunner is a service from The New York Times that automatically monitors news articles and blog posts and tracks news events as they develop across the Web thriugh a pre-selected number of categories.

 




AllTop - Blogging

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While it is being promoted as a curated news portal, reflecting Guy Kawasaki source picks, AllTop is basically an automated news aggregator working on a very specific small set of high-quality source sites.

 




Buzztap - NBA

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Buzztap is a much more focused news aggregator, providing access to the latest sports buzz, culled from thousands of sources.

 








5) Crowdsourced Curated News Aggregators

Crowdsourced curated news aggregators invite and accept news submissions from the crowd and then publish all of them utilizing different automated criteria to sort and organize them by freshness, popularity, topic and time.

 


Slashdot

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Slashdot accepts very-short-story submissions from readers pointing to a major breaking story online. Slashdot editors review and select manually which stories to publish and then carefully curate by moderating, vetting and rating all of the comments appearing under each story.

 




NowPublic

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NowPublic is a multimedia online news magazine accepting user contributions for international news. Articles on the trending issues of the day are written and assembled by contributors who provide relevant background, photos, videos and Tweets needed to understand and join the digital dialogue. In addition NowPublic relies on a mini-army of reporters who file stories from 6,000 cities in 160 countries.

 




Newser

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Newser aggregates news from thousands of sources and then utilizes its editorial team to summarize, pick and select the most thought-provoking and entertaining stories.

 




Spot.us

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Spot.us is an open source project to pioneer "community powered reporting." Through Spot.Us the public can commission and participate with journalists to do reporting on important and perhaps overlooked topics. User-directed curation from beginning to end.

 








6) Curated News Channels

Curated news channels, first aggregate and filter news content utilizing automated tools of which they control the inout, aggregation and filtering variables, and then place all content through a curated editorial workflow, that sorts, organizes and picks out the most relevant stories to publish.

 


Arts & Letters Daily

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Arts & Letters Daily is a list of content links updated manually six days a week by Denis Dutton and Tran Huu Dung.

 




The Huffington Post

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The Huff is an "Internet newspaper" producing exclusive content as well as collecting, curating and rewriting into short stories the most interesting content available online.

 




Drudge Report

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The DR is an online newspaper made up of curated links from the best news stories available online.

 




Poynter - Romenesko Latest News

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The Romenesko Latest News page on Poynter Online is a curated magazine on media industry news, and commentary over the most interesting stories being published online.

 




Abnormal Returns

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Abnormal Returns is a wide-ranging, forecast-free investment blog which provides news and information on financial investments. On its home page it provides a curated list of links to valuable articles and resources elsewhere online which it also provides as an RSS feed or widget for other sites to republish.

 




The Week - World Business

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The Week is an online magazine curating the best content from around the web under a pre-defined set of categories. The week editors identify key topics being discussed online and after having read them produce high quality articles summarizing and referencing all of the best information gathered from those sources.

 




SmartBrief

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Smartbrief is a clearinghouse for market-specific human-curated daily news reports, available both as email updates and web pages.

 




MarketWatch Bi-Weekly

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Marketwatch is an online magazine covering trends and issues affecting the electronic industry, by curating and adding commentary the best content and news stories from other sources on the web.





SFGate.com uses the OneSpot widget to power links to related content both inside and outside its site. "We're curating content from the Chronicle as well as our collection of Web-only content, whether it's from the blogs or the community as well as outside sources," said Kevin Skaggs, executive producer at SFGate.com.

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Skaggs noted that newspapers have always curated content; this is just an extension of it on the Web. "Users come to us because we become the place that really packages it all together in the most interesting way," he said.

Publishers such as The New York Times use curation tools to collect links for both widgets and blogs, using Publish2, which allows journalists to bookmark and publish links with a browser plugin.

e-Media Vitals - How Publishers Curate World Content


 



Liqurious - What's your poison

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Liqurious is part of the notcot mini-network of curated sites. Its focus is on visual content related to drinks.

 




Dicole Radar

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Dicole Radar is Teemu Arina's own curated selection of the most relevant content and links coming from its company and associates. Dicole is a small Finnish company providing consulting on strategies for building online communities and for effectively leveraging the power of social media inside large brands.

 




MediaGazer

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Mediagazer is part of the "Techmeme" family of news aggregation sites, which has combined sophisticated automated aggregation technologies with direct editorial input by employing a human-curator editor, Megan McCarthy, to pick, sort, select and organize the best breaking news on media.

 




WeSmirch

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WeSmirch distills the lastest buzz from popular gossip blogs and news sites every five minutes. All articles are selected via computer algorithm, vividly demonstrating that computers have a very long way to go before actually accomplishing truly intelligent work.

 




Ballbug - MLB Buzz Bot - Baseball news

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Ballbug spotlights the most buzzed-about baseball news from thousands of web sites. It auto-generates a summary page every 5 minutes, drawing on local news sites, national sports media, and baseball bloggers of various stripes.

 




Techmeme

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"The site, developed by a former Intel engineer, appropriately enough relies on software algorithms to collect technology news in real time into what is essentially the front page of an ever-changing industry newspaper.

But Techmeme also turns to humans to filter the ever-growing number of articles and blog posts published online each day, a method that is being used by Mediagazer, a new sister site for media industry news."

New York Times




Other interesting examples of curated news channels can be found here: (please do suggest more)




Examples of Brand Curated News Channels



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HiveFire - GetCurata - The Content Curation eBook - Taming The Flood In B2B Social Media




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Digital Curation

 








7) Automated Real-Time Twitter News Channels

Automated real-time Twitter news aggregation channels bring together a pre-selected number of unique sources, generally selected through a human validation process, into an organic stream which can be viewed and browsed in a number of different ways.

 


Tweetmeme

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Championist

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Steve Rubel on Social Content Curation - Duration: 2':40

 




Muck Rack - Technology

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Venture Maven

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Dvlprs - Ajax

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Giant Red Carpet - Actors

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InkPill - Web Design

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Style.com - FashionFeed

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8) Curated Video Channels

Curated video channels first privately aggregate the best video-based content produced and published online, and then manually curate-select the most interesting and relevant clips according to an editorial theme or to a set of predetermined categories-topics.

 


Chunnel TV

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Curated audio-visual content from the global underground.

 




Vidque

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A curated topic by topic selection of the best video clips coming from YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.tv and TED.

 




Newslook

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A curated selection of the best video news reporting available online.

 




Devour

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Gerd Leonhard - Media Futurist




For more great examples see also:




In the next part of this guide to real-Time news curation, I am going to be looking at the role of the news curator, or newsmaster, and analyze in detail the workflow and steps she must take as well as the skills she needs to have to be successful at this.




End of Part 3



Coming up next in this Complete Guide to Real-Time News Content Curation:
In Part 4 - How To Do It
In Part 5 - The Curator Attributes And Skills
In Part 6 - The Tools Universe
In Part 7 - Business Applications and Trends
In Part 8 - Legal issues



Previous parts already published:

Part 1 - Real-Time News Curation, Newsmastering and Newsradars - Why We Need It

Part 2 - Real-Time news Curation: Aggregation is Automated, Curation is Manual




Originally written and "curated" by with the editorial help of Elia Lombardi and Ludovico Canali and first published on MasterNewMedia on September 22nd, 2010 as "Real-Time News Curation - The Complete Guide Part 3: Types And Real-World Examples"

Robin Good -
 
 
 
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posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, September 22 2010, updated on Thursday, March 17 2011


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