by Beth Kanter (Guest contributor/for NTEN: Change)
Heard of content curation? It’s the process of sifting through information on the Web – from articles to images to videos to tweets – to organize, filter and make sense of content and then to share the very best material with your network.
Rather than another potential recipe for information overload, content creation can actually be a means to tackle this problem. We now create more data in just seven days than in all of human history up through 2003. So we need help sorting through all of the info flotsam and jetsam that we’re splashing around in.
Benefits of content curation for nonprofits
A curator needs to have superb social media monitoring and listening skills. That means knowing the right keywords on the topic and sources, agility with “aggregator” tools and the daily discipline of foraging for the best content and evaluating your finds before sharing.
Whether you have a staffer monitoring and aggregating blog posts for internal use or posting to Pinterest or providing value to the community by pointing to useful tweets, content curation holds benefits for both nonprofits and the people who work for them:
- Improve staff expertise. It used to be that we could be trained to do our work and we wouldn’t need to update and synthesize new information on a daily basis. That’s less true. One 21st century work place literacy is sense-making of information together and alone. Good curators can spot and highlight content related to their mission.
- Improve thought leadership. If your organization is curating content on a particular topic, it can help with branding your organization as thought leaders in the space.
- New sources of content. Curation forms the base of your content strategy pyramid. It’s about curation, creativity and coordination across channels. Your content strategy is essential to the success of an integrated social media strategy. And content curation can help increase the shelf-life of your content you’re already producing.
Techniques for efficient, focused curation
As you encourage content curation activities for your staff, you may also want to remind them of techniques for being efficient and staying focused:
- Manage your attention, not just your time: Don’t just create a to-do list; lay it out on daily and weekly schedules, breaking down key tasks of the project into chunks. Consider the level of concentration and focus that each type of task or chunk requires and schedule accordingly. For example, if I have to do some writing that requires a higher level of attention for me than does scanning Twitter or reading and responding to email, I schedule my writing time during peak concentration hours in the day. I also use a timer when I’m scanning my networks and limit those activities to 15-20 minute bursts.
- Visualize on paper: Over the past 10 months, I’ve made a return to paper and markers and using mind maps or visualization techniques to reflect and to plan my week or day. I use this as a pre-writing exercise as well as a reflection exercise. It’s a way to cope with getting “content fried.”
- Establish rituals: Rituals in your work life are valuable. A mind map offers a lot of good suggestions for rituals, from decluttering your workspace to healthy habits like sleep and exercise.
- Reflection: Reflection doesn’t have to take up a large amount of time to be effective. I take 10 minutes every morning to practice some visual recording skills like drawing to create my “3 Most Important Things for Today List.” At the end of the day, I look at it, reflect on what I did and plan for tomorrow.
- Managing email and other distractions: I try to avoid email first thing in the morning. And I’ve turned off notifications that pop up on my computer screen or send me a text message to my mobile phone.
- Managing physical space: When I see clutter in my physical work spaces, I try to take that as a sign that I need to hit a pause button. Usually it is because I’m doing too much.
- Just say no: Maybe you are going to say no to social media for a day and go to meet with people, take a class, read a book or take a walk. When I’m feeling most overwhelmed, I take a break. At least get up from your desk!
Content curation can not only benefit your organization but also enhance staff expertise in the subject area being curated. This can have additional returns for your organization’s programs and services and positively impact your stakeholders. It can also help staff avoid the problems of lost productivity that information overload causes.
Best of all, it can help your nonprofit overall by strengthening your communications strategy and positioning your organization as a thought leader in its domain. But it requires a solid content strategy and training in the hard and soft techniques of content curation.
Beth Kanter is a visiting scholar with the Packard Foundation. Follow her on Twitter at @kanter and at the bethkanter.org blog. This article originally appeared in theNonprofit Technology Network newsletter (subscribe here) as part of NTEN: Change and was curated by the Socialbrite team.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.
U.S. newspaper circulation struggled with only a tiny increase in March 2012, compared to a year earlier, but digital circulation surged by 63 percent, according to the latest figures from the the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Digital circulation now accounts for 14.2 percent of newspapers’ total circulation mix, and note the term refers to tablet or smartphone apps, PDF replicas, metered or restricted-access websites, or e-reader editions. The figure in March 2011 was 8.66 percent.
Average daily circulation increased .68 percent, covering 628 papers.
The Grey Lady was one of the clear winners from this report. The New York Times enjoyed a 73 percent surge in circulation to 1.58 million, with digital readership of 807,026 overtaking print circulation of 779,731. The Times remained the top Sunday newspaper with total average circulation of just over two million, including more than 737,000 digital.
Coming out as one of the top losers, The Washington Post faced a 7.8 percent circulation decrease, a trend closely mirrored by the Detroit Free Press (6.27 percent decrease).
AFP writes, “US newspapers have been grappling with a steep drop in print advertising revenue, steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online. But more newspapers are developing models for paid online subscriptions or apps for tablets or phones.”
One of Colorado’s most popular papers is in such dire financial straits it is reportedly firing two-thirds of its copy-editing staff and asking reporters to help out with everyday editing.
A Denver blog posted the memo from Denver Post editor Greg Moore, who noted how print revenue loss are so steep, they have to make drastic cutbacks. “We have focused our attention on consolidating steps in the editing process so that traditional copy editing is done at the content-generating level. That is going to result in a reduction in the ranks of copy editors,” the memo states.
Essentially, this means the Post’s reporters will also have to do double-duty as copy editors. Those tasks may include writing headlines, editing copy, finding pull-quotes, double-checking sources and more.
Moore goes on to add: “We understand that a major move like this is not done without anxiety and pain. But the way we have been doing things must change, and we have to find creative ways to streamline our production process for both print and online.”
Besides being creative with its editorial operations, the Post is also trying to find revenue elsewhere, beyond print. The paper will begin marketing space in its building that will be vacated next year after administrative offices for the Colorado Supreme Court and justice administration relocate. Earlier this year, the Post made buyout deals with more than 19 staffers, including well-known columnists.
Digital Journal today published a list of the 20 most active contributors on its network in March. The Top 20 list is published each month to report how Digital Journalists, bloggers and citizen journalists interact in an online media network.
“Gamification is going to be a pillar in the future for media organizations,” said Digital Journal CEO, Chris Hogg. “Having and using data in conjunction with a media offering positions a company like Digital Journal to be able to do things that have never before been possible. We can measure, track and report very granular data that has never before been accessible, and we are proud to be able to use that data to show off some of most talented media people in the world.”
Digital Journal publishes a Top 20 list in recognition of top performers from the company’s massive gamification project that tracks and reports activity of contributors across the Digital Journal network. Recording actions such as quantity of articles published, frequency of visit and how engaged members are, Digital Journal rewards points and badges to individual contributors based on the amount of their activity. The members who stay the most active in the month are then rewarded with a “Power Users” badge.
In addition to creating incentive for contributors to participate in the social news network, Digital Journal aims to showcase talent and create a level of transparency that gives an open look at how people interact with a news organization and how user-generated content is valuable in the wider news ecosystem.
“Digital Journal is seeing continued growth from contributors making their mark in social news media,” said David Silverberg, Managing Editor of Digital Journal. “Our focus on gamification has produced another excellent crop of informative journalism gaining attention with readers and publishers across the world.”
In no particular order, Digital Journal’s March 2012 Power Users include:
- KJ Mullins
- Layne Weiss
- Amanda Payne
- Kev Hedges
- Marcus Hondro
- JohnThomas Didymus
- Katerina Nikolas
- Tim Sandle
- Elizabeth Batt
- Nicole Byerly
- Andrew Moran
- Paul Wallis
- Leigh Goessl
- Darren Brown
- Alexander Baron
- Anne Sewell
- Nancy Houser
- Yukio Strachan
- Arthur Weinreb
- Mathew Wace Peck
Digital Journal compiles data on a monthly basis and resets the points at the beginning of each month when a new competition begins. More info on Digital Journal’s gamification project can be found here.
by Anne Sewell (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)
Ali Hashem, an ex-Al Jazeera correspondent, says that television channels have turned into political parties, pushing the agenda for “some outside forces.”
Recently an article on Digital Journal reported that key staff members of the Al Jazeera news service were resigning due to bias over the Syria situation. Ali Hashem told RT that he has come into the spotlight after resigning from the television channel, citing its bias.
The former Al Jazeera correpondent in Beirut vented his anger over the one-sided coverage of Syria on Al Jazeera in several emails, which have been leaked by Syrian hackers. He said that Al Jazeera refused to cover the events in Bahrain.
In an exclusive interview with RT, the former Beirut correspondent Hashem, while not wishing to discuss his resignation, did stress that these days “independent media is a myth.”
“There is no independent media anymore. It is whose agenda is paying the money for the media outlet,” he said. “Politicization of media means that media outlets are today like political parties. Everyone is adopting a point of view, fight for it and bring all the tools and all the means they have in order to make it reach the biggest amount of viewers.”
The journalist believes that nowadays the viewer has to compare news from several different outlets, and then make his own conclusions. “Today we are in the era of open source information and everyone can reach whatever information he wants.”
Hashem further said that the problem with this is that some news outlets reach larger audiences than others. “What they say will [seem] to be a fact while it might not be the fact,” he said.
Hashem believes that the mass media should be “immune” and unbiased when reporting war and conflict, as this guarantees freedom of speech. “In the year 2006, Israel bombarded Al-Manar television because they said Al-Manar was doing propaganda war against Israel,” he said. “Al-Manar was on one side of this war and they were supporting the Hezbollah and the resistance and the war against Israel. But does this give Israel the excuse to bombard Al-Manar? Certainly not.”
We should as journalists, whatever our point of view is, (because it is clear there is no independent journalism anymore) have the right to say whatever he wants safely, without being threatened to be bombarded or killed or executed or arrested,” Hashem concluded.
Several key staff members have recently resigned from the Beirut Bureau of Al Jazeera including Ali Hashem, the managing director Hassan Shaaban and also producer Mousa Ahmad. All these staff members cited bias in the channel’s coverage of the “Arab Spring”, especially with regards to Syria and Bahrain, as their reason for resigning.
This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]