As an author, editor and communications pro, I’ve incorporated content curation and a wide range of aggregation and curation technologies into several of my most successful editorial and strategic positioning programs.
I wrote about curation and attribution several years ago when content curation was all the rage and when a lively and often heated discussion on curation attribution was occurring within the industry analyst and social media communities. That post – Russ DeVeau on curation attribution – introduces a couple best practices for attribution of curated content and discusses some of my experiences working with early aggregation and curation technologies.
Fast forward to today and curation and attribution are once again driving headlines. This is partly because a Washington Post journalist was recently fired due to lax attribution of curated content, a practice that came pretty close to plagiarism. In this instance, curation generally refers to when a journalist or blogger monitors news and other content issued by a competitor and then moves quickly to write and post a story based on what the competitor has already released.
This type of curation is extremely common in media outlets where there is constant pressure to break and post news.
But in a communications era where charges of fake news are made every single day, and in an era when a journalist can ruin their career and do real harm to their employer’s brand by publishing a story based on content taken from a competitor’s news or social feed, there can be no room for any activity that comes close to resembling plagiarism when it comes to news and content development.
Journalists, bloggers, content creators and writers can help eliminate the fake news mantra if we demonstrate the highest standards when it comes to ensuring originality in the content and stories we create, and by sourcing – as appropriate – content developed by others.
My first editor used to refer to the rule of three when it came to source attribution. He would say that using any more than three words in a row from a source without clear attribution can boarder on plagiarism. That’s a rule I’ve stuck to for the last two decades and a rule I regularly communicate to interns and content development teams.
I’ll talk about the somewhat related practice of acquiring fake followers and friends – an issue Twitter is currently moving to address – in the era of fake news in a future post. – Russ DeVeau