Tuesday Buzz: The Great Aggregation Debate

A debate between two of the most prominent bloggers on the internet offers some important lessons for those dedicated to the craft of aggregation. Also: A new newsletter worth watching for.

When Nate Silver calls you out for something, you’d better be listening.

And Vox Editor-in-Chief Ezra Klein was definitely listening yesterday when the FiveThirtyEight mastermind expressed anger about Vox’s use of the graphics built by Silver’s team.

But give it up for Klein, who found a good opportunity to turn what could have been an embarrassing moment into an opportunity for analysis of what makes aggregation valuable. Klein apologized for a piece that didn’t do a particularly great job on the credit front, and discussed the history of aggregation, starting all the way back with Time Magazine, which drew earlier criticism for its aggregation activity.

Klein defended the value of aggregation, saying that, when done well, it adds value for everyone, but noted that he understood Silver’s point.

“But while aggregation has always been a clear service to readers, it can be enormously frustrating to writers,” Klein wrote in his blog post. “I’ve worked for months on a piece only to find the best bits summarized elsewhere, under a less responsible headline—and then watched the Facebook shares tick past the original.”

For associations that aggregate content on blogs and websites, the key thing here is that sharing has to be done in an ethical way. Reorganize it. Share in a way that adds content. Link back. Show respect for sources you’re crediting. That’s how it’s done.

A Contrarian for Your Inbox

Want to get challenged by your email? If so, Jeff De Cagna of Principled Innovation has the ticket. The strategist, known for offering provocative takes on important issues in the association space like business models and membership, is launching a new newsletter called The Association Contrarian. The first issue publishes April 15. Be sure to sign up here.

Other Links of Note

More journalistic food for thought: Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, suggests that journalism could face serious threats if it’s tied too closely to Facebook.

Get the best conference experience possible! Callie Walker at MemberClicks shares how.

Think like a library: CQ Roll Call’s Connectivity site has a great feature on the American Library Association’s initiative, which works to get librarygoers interested in advocacy issues.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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