Reported Aggregation: A Truce in the Content Wars?
2011 was a big year for news—from the Arab Spring uprisings to the debt-ceiling meltdown, to quakes, floods hurricanes and the Republican presidential smackdown. Fortunately, the year also saw the emergence of a new approach to presenting breaking news—reported aggregation, a form that offers the chance of a truce in the battle over original reporting vs. aggregation (aka Bill Keller vs. Arianna Huffington). Reported aggregation blends curation, social media, and traditional, pick-up-the-phone-or-hit-the-streets reporting to deliver up-to-the-minute coverage of breaking news and, increasingly, ongoing coverage of in-depth stories. Successes include Andy Carvin's breathtaking Twitter feed, which combines you-are-there retweets with crowdsourced verification and original contributions, is one example; Mother Jones' highly popular explainers, which Nieman Labs called "a fascinating fusion between a liveblog and a Wikipedia page;" HuffPo's and Slate's ongoing experiments with curation/reporting blends; and more. In this session, we'll look at what makes this form so successful, share ideas and best practices, review tools that will work for even the most tech-hating hack, and discuss the potential of reported aggregation as a new gold standard for breaking news.
Clara Jeffery is co-editor of Mother Jones, where, together with Monika Bauerlein, she has spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by the addition of an eight-person Washington bureau, an overhaul of the organization's digital strategy and a corresponding tripling of traffic, and the winning of two National Magazine Awards for general excellence. Before joining the staff of Mother Jones, she was a senior editor of Harper's magazine. Ten pieces that she personally edited have been finalists for National Magazine Awards, in the categories of essay, profile, reporting, public interest, feature, and fiction. Works she edited have also been selected to appear in various editions of Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing, and Best American Science Writing. Clara cut her journalistic teeth at Washington City Paper, where she wrote and edited political, investigative, and narrative features, and was a columnist. Jeffery is a graduate of Carleton College and Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. Born in Baltimore and raised in Arlington, Virginia, she now resides in the Mission District of San Francisco with her partner Chris Baum and their three-year-old son, Milo. Their burrito joint of choice is El Metate.
Nick Baumann is the News Editor for Mother Jones, an award-winning magazine and 24-hour news website. He covers national politics and civil liberties issues, and has broken stories on multiple topics, including torture, health care, elections, abortion politics, the 2011 Tucson shooting, and the White House emails scandal. Nick has also written for The Economist, The Atlantic, The Washington Monthly, and Commonweal, among other publications. He grew up in the tiny seaside village of Noank, Connecticut and is an Eagle Scout and a lifelong Red Sox fan.