Bias: A Threat to the Future of Curation?

Published January 20, 2012 by jcrosland

Josh Sternberg’s article “Why Curation Is Important to the Future of Journalism” (which can be read here at mashable.com) is a great overview of field of curation, its purpose, and its potential future. Sternberg argues that the art of journalism isn’t dead; it has merely shifted and changed shape in order to adapt to the means by which people acquire news in modern times. The line between journalist and curator has blurred.  Sternberg insists that curators have, in effect, become journalists themselves, and that “many curators believe they should be held to the same standards as journalists.” He goes on to discuss trustworthiness, sources of information, and how curation will become more refined with the advent of new tools and technology.

One point that raised a few questions is that Sternberg states that curators can be “passionate” about the content they research and present. I feel that this “passion,” if taken to the extreme, could be harmful to the further development of curation. After all, if a curator expects to be treated as a journalist, then s/he must maintain a neutral stance toward the content s/he reports. Otherwise, s/he runs the risk of posting information that is one-sided, thus creating bias regarding whatever topic s/he is reporting.

Additionally, should there be a limit to this “passion?” Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the discipline of the curator, and whether s/he is willing to use his or her reporting prowess responsibly.

I’m not saying that curators should be made subject to strict censorship codes. Censorship is deplorable when misused and wielded recklessly. However, if curators want to be treated akin to their journalists counterparts and establish work forces, then they must be prepared to sacrifice the liberties that are inherent to their field (i.e. covering a story outside of their “beat”).

 

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