Content Curation Faux Pas

This is a relatively short post that I wanted to get up to discuss one of the problems with the concept of content curation. I’m not necessarily a fan for many different reasons, and the link below is one of them.

This link is from CNN News, and it’s talking about the guy who set the record for skydiving from the highest point in space ever, more than 24,000 feet; ouch! It’s a great story, one I’ve actually been following for about a year since I first heard about it, and it all ended well.

Anyway, the story talks about how he got up there, how he jumped via balloon, how far he fell before deploying his parachute, speeds, and then the landing. It’s all fascinating stuff, and I wanted to read more about his feelings and what other people thought about him going through it.

There was, and probably still is, a lot of content in the story. However, after the first few paragraphs, it turns out to be all filler. And not just regular filler, but it’s all pre-event filler. In other words, it talked about potential dangers “before he jumps” when he’s already jumped. In essence, all the information and data that CNN had accumulated before he made the jump was posted again, and had probably been posted time and time again every time his guy was part of the story.

Thing is, that’s one of the problems I have with content curation. It’s a lazy way of reporting, and it makes you, the source, look stupid if you don’t update it in some fashion so that it looks current. If it had been written without time emphasis it might have worked better. But it wasn’t, and thus it’s disappointing reading and stuff that, for the most part, I’d already read. And if I hadn’t read it I’d still have been wondering why it was written in the past tense.

Maybe I’m being sensitive so I’ll ask you. Based on this story and the way they’ve used content they’ve previously curated, should they have updated it, not used it at all since it’s past its usefulness, or am I way off my rocker?

24 thoughts on “Content Curation Faux Pas”

  1. When I started reading this I didn’t know what curation meant….Ages ago I stopped buying newspapers because I got so caught up in the killer headline and hype and then got disappointed by the content, it never lived up to the what the opening words said about the topic. I don’t think you’re being sensitive at all, just saying what you think and I’m sure there are a lot of people who agree with you!

    1. Thanks Alex. Often the news isn’t worth reading, but so many sources have just gotten lazy and it’s a shame. No wonder more people are looking elsewhere for news.

  2. This happens in the UK, too and it pisses me off too. However, I think that for people who missed it, it’s logical for them to repeat it at least once or twice… but certainly not ad nauseum!

    I’ve personally been keeping up with a news story that is fairly local to me in Wales – of a child that went missing and is now presumed murdered – and all I’ve seen since it started is the same stuff over and over again.

    There’s probably very little actual ‘news’ in the sense that anything is new, anymore.

    1. Same here Val. If there’s nothing new to say, just say that and link to the old stuff instead. This is where people wonder why online news sources don’t get penalized for duplicate or multiple content yet if I write a blog post that looks like a post on another site, even if it’s not, Google penalizes me.

  3. No Mitch, you are speaking on something that I have problems with every now and then.

    I think I watch too much news because I notice many mistakes that go reported.

    For example, I live in what is called the Mid-south, the reporter said the earthquake in the Mid-south could be the result of the big one over seas.

    I did not even know the Mid-south had an earthquake. Go figure.

  4. It seems like the zeal for working hard and getting facts updated is dying out. All people want is ready material that they can then forward as news to other people. I see your point Mitch and I agree with it. More often than not, when we go searching for more information on any news that interests us, all we get is another article stating, what is now the obvious.

  5. I feel this has been the trend. We can call it ‘recycling’ of old and used stuff to make it useful again, I hope you get the tone. And we are digesting this on a daily basis. I actually am clueless about the originality of the content we get to read on our morning newspapers. What else can the media do for people who are just thrilled by the day-to-day events and not the content which is used to deliver them.

    1. Good stuff Peter. You know, someone decided that just pushing out as much information as possible was a good thing, whether it actually enhances a story or not. And we fall for it because we start reading, recognize it, say “oh heck”, and then go elsewhere but our time has already been wasted.

  6. This has at least mildly annoyed me since the first time I noticed it happening. 🙂 Like you said, at least they could go through and change the tense and so forth so that it makes sense. It’s nothing new for news media to want to get the story (and its updates) out before anyone else, but this shouldn’t come at the cost of quality.

  7. Well, it was all over the news and most titles were a bit misleading. I think it is great achievement, but first it cost too much and my personal opinion is that those money can be used in much better way. Second, in many titles it was called jump from space, but technically the distance to lower space orbits is 3 times higher, the 3rd thing is exactly what you’ve mentioned above. I think all those newspapers and agencies completely screwed up this time, actually quite often titles and content is written in very lazy way, similar to 3rd level blogger, not like professional journalist.

    1. Carl, headlines are written by editors, not the people who write the story. Truth be told, it really is the edge of space, so technically that counts; that’s what Neil DeGrasse Tyson says, and in this regard he’s smarter than both of us. lol

      1. The truth to be told in science “the edge of space” is called “Karman line” and it is on the attitude 62miles. I deeply respect Neil DeGrasse Tyson, but even him decided to take this cliche probably punched by editor or journalist lightly.

      2. No Carl, you’re missing the point. Hyperbole is what gets people interested in stuff. For the overwhelming majority of us, we could care less how correct this story is. What we care about is he did something no one else has done, probably no one else will ever do, and as far as a human body goes he was in space. Maybe it’s lost in translation based on where you live but it’s a story that’s generated a lot of interest and people are amazed. Why not just go with that?

      3. Certainly this is great achievement and this is a fact, sure hyperbole is a nice trick used by writers and journalist, but tomorrow kids will learn the things in wrong way, just because a journalist have drop a word from “god damned particle” and somebody have use “edge of space” inaccurately. The previous jumps are from 4 times lower attitude, I am not wrong since 1966 nobody have try to jump from stratosphere. Actually the previous jumps were done by military from pilots without any equipment from around 10miles high. However don’t you think that media should educate people not throwing desinformation and wrong terms?

      4. I see both points, but given my disgust with the lack of facts being batted around in politics and social issues, and the FACT that more people should be interested in and fascinated by this jump, regardless of any hair-splitting or hyperbole, I have to give the point to Carl here. Accuracy (particularly in science) MATTERS.

        That said, emotional and spiritual elements matter deeply to most people, Carl, and Mitch makes excellent points, as well. As a writer, hyperbole is one of the tools in my toolbox, but I’d prefer to use it sparingly. In this case, maybe stretching the term “from the edge of space” really does help capture the imagination of a generation that grew up thinking the space shuttle was fairly ordinary – “old hat” – before they were even born. IF it gets them interested enough in science to debate the point – or even just to learn what the “stratosphere” IS – then maybe Mitch is the one who nailed it.

        Oh, wait – the topic here was sloppy journalism, right? Don’t even get me started on that one.

      5. LOL! Holly, you’ve captured the issues well. Many of lack a way of getting people enthused in what we do, and aren’t up for overstating our cases. Still, I don’t always have as bad a reaction to that as I have had with sloppy news presentation these days.

  8. I usually have to turn off the TV after twenty or thirty minutes of news, because that’s when they run out of things to talk about and start repeating themselves. I watched a replay of the jump on CNN, and right after they showed it, they showed it again — describing it with great excitement, as though we hadn’t just seen it a minute ago.

    1. You know Charles, I think that’s one of the reasons we all stop watching things like CNN as an all day thing because at a certain point you realize you keep hearing the same thing over and over; boring!

  9. I’ll solve this one for ya Mitch! Don’t watch the news… Okay, maybe a little too drastic I admit but I quit watching it or reading about it years ago.

    I will agree with you that I hate reading or hearing about something over and over and over again. You’re right, they have a tendency to reiterate what’s already been reported and I use to sit there waiting to hear what’s new. It never came so I got burnt out.

    It’s all fluff Mitch and looks like it drives a lot of other people just as crazy as us.


    1. Adrienne, it’s reading news online and not on TV that I have more issue with and I could stop reading it except you know how I am as far as wanting to accumulate information so I always have something to write about. But even I know that at a certain point I’ve already taken something in and don’t want to see it over and over. I’ve seen the same thing on some blogs by the way, which is also irksome.

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