Is aggregation really journalism?

Aggregation has been a long-debated topic whose ethicality is often in question. There are three main ideas on the issue: journalism is basically just aggregation already; a little bit of aggregation never hurt anyone; and aggregation is theft.

The Columbia Journalism Review posted this article about the fact that aggregation is a huge part of journalism. It suggests that instead of shunning it we should embrace it and use it wisely and ethically–by giving credit where credit is due. It also gives guidelines on how to aggregate morally and responsibly.

Steve Buttry wrote this story in which he suggests the ‘link, attribute, add value’ method. This method entails linking first, so as not to forget to link later, then attribute so you’re not claiming someone else’s story as your own, and add value, so you actually have an opinion or new information on the matter, because… well, we could just go to someone else’s site and read the same thing.

Each person will have their own idea on aggregation in journalism. Personally, I think there should be some guidelines on how to aggregate, and how much of a story should be aggregated. But before any guidelines come into place, I believe that if you give credit and link where you can, you’re good to go. It’s like referencing in an assignment–you can use the information set forth by someone else as long as you tell people it wasn’t your information to begin with.

However, some people believe that aggregation is theft. One such person would be Rupert Murdoch, who stated: “To aggregate stories is not fair use.” (You can read more about this here). He, like many others, believe that aggregation is a form of plagiarism, and that journalists should do their own interrogation and research.

What do you think? Is aggregation ‘fair use’? Should there be laws surrounding the use of aggregation? Or should people just stay out of it? Please leave your comment below.


Here are the articles I used:



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