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  • "The Wire" as a Dickens serial
    It's one of those ideas that sounds less nuts the more you think about it: "The Wire" imagined as a 19th-century serialized novel. After all, David Simon's great multi-season drama had all the muckraking moral outrage of Charles Dickens (Google the reviews and try to count the number of times you see the word "Dickensian"), and its shifting viewpoint over five seasons gave it a similar historical sweep and reportorial authority. The real kick of "When It's Not Your Turn," though, is its obsessive attention to detail. You have to admire the dedication of creators Joy Delyria and Sean Michael Robinson, who seemingly cram every arcane bit of the show's rich mythology into a fake lit-crit essay. The illustrations, ostensibly by Baxter "Bubz" Black, just add to the goofy verisimilitude of the thing. It's a fabulous fraud....

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  • Flipback books: shirtpocket format designed for one-handed reading
    The Dutch publishing industry's "flipback" format sounds clever: it's a sideways-bound book with a lie-flat binding, printed on onionskin, sized to fit in a shirt pocket and optimized for easy one-handed reading. More than a million have been sold in the Netherlands and now it's to be introduced in the UK, France and Spain. It sounds like a handy format, though "Could this new book kill the Kindle?" probably takes the prize for silliest Guardian headline of the year to date. It is all the rage in Holland, where it was introduced in 2009, and has since sold 1m copies. A version has just been launched in Spain, France is next, and the flipback reaches UK shores in June, when Hodder & Stoughton will treat us to a selection of 12 books. They cost £9.99, and will include David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas and Stephen King's Misery. I am keen to see what the hype is about so I take a pre-released copy on my travels: Chris Cleave's The Other Hand. Nearly 370 pages long in its original format, the flipback version has more than 550 - but still fits easily in my pocket. The book's not called The Other Hand for nothing. It's so small that I can perch it in one fist, and keep my other hand free for shopping. How? The paper is wafer-thin. Could this new book kill the Kindle? (via MeFi) (Image: Linda Nylind/Guardian)...

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  • Junkyard Jumbotron: join all your screens into one big one, no software install needed
    Here's a demo of the Junkyard Jumbotron, created by Rick Borovoy at MIT's Center for Future Civic Media. It's a cool app to allow you to gang up multiple screens (phones, tablets, flat panels), running any OS, and turn them into a single, joined display. It's very clever: you arrange the screens as desired and then display a web-page with a QR code on each of them; snap a picture and send it back to the server and the server takes any image you feed it and splits it across the screens. No client-side software needed, apart from a browser. Junkyard Jumbotron (Thanks, Akwhitacre, via Submitterator!)...

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  • Venn diagram illustrates all the different European unions, councils, zones and suchlike
    This handy Venn diagram illustrates the relationship between the Council of Europe, the European Union, Shengen, the Eurozone, the European Economic Area, and the European Trade Association. I had to memorise all this stuff for my "Life in the UK" test when I got my permanent residency permit, and it was actually pretty interesting, especially as compared to some of the other material. All will be aware of the 'Europe' that is a less than homogenous conglomerate of nation states, with an unwieldy Brussels bureaucracy at its centre. This European Union, which consists of 27 member states, is merely the most visible of several European unions, all committed to different versions of the same goal: European integration. The EU is formally committed to strive for 'ever closer union' but its members still disagree on how much more than a free trade zone it wants to be. This continuing struggle for the soul of the EU (if that doesn't sound like too much of an oxymoron) is epitomised by the smaller, green circle contained within the blue EU one. These are the countries of the Eurozone, 17 at present, who've jumped in at the deep end of the sovereignty pool by discarding their own currencies in favour of a single one. 505 - United Diagrams of Europe  The Venn Diagram of cardigans - Boing Boing Nerd vs. Dork vs. Geek: The Venn Diagram - Boing Boing Coffee table looks like a Venn diagram - Boing Boing The mysteries of Venn diagrams - Boing Boing Hilarious Venn diagrams - Boing Boing The Venn Diagram of Social Media - Boing Boing People who touch your junk - Boing Boing Venn diagram tee shows the bittersweet between happy and sad Boing ......

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  • Why Curation Is Important to the Future of Journalism

    Josh Sternberg is the founder of Sternberg Strategic Communications and authors The Sternberg Effect. You can follow him on Twitter and Tumblr.

    Over the past few weeks, many worries about the death of journalism have, well, died. Despite shrinking newsrooms and overworked reporters, journalism is in fact thriving. The art of information gathering, analysis and dissemination has arguably been strengthened over the last several years, and given rise and importance to a new role: the journalistic curator.

    The concept of curating news is not new. One can look to the supply-chain process of a news organization to see that several roles (editor, managing editor, etc.) have curation as a core competency; that is, the organizing of information filed by reporters into a deliverable packages for readers.

    But with the push of social media and advancements in communications technology, the curator has become a journalist by proxy. They are not on the front lines, covering a particular beat or industry, or filing a story themselves, but they are responding to a reader need. With a torrent of content emanating from innumerable sources (blogs, mainstream media, social networks), a vacuum has been created between reporter and reader — or information gatherer and information seeker — where having a trusted human editor to help sort out all this information has become as necessary as those who file the initial report.

    “Curation,” says Sayid Ali, owner of, “gathers all these fragmented pieces of information to one location, allowing people to get access to more specialized content.”

    Curation as an Intermediary

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    Andy Carvin, senior strategist for NPR who runs their social media desk, finds meaning in the word “media.” “It means being in the middle — in this case, between sources and the public. So curating … really isn’t that different than what reporters have always done; it’s just in real time and a hell of a lot more transparent.”

    As Ernie Smith, editor of ShortFormBlog sees it, curators are like tour guides. “Good curators know where to find interesting things because they know the paths and can provide a knowledgeable voice to make things a little easier to parse. A good curator can see a clear direction and show others the way.”

    Curators help navigate readers through the vast ocean of content, and while doing so, create a following based on several factors: trust, taste and tools.

    Building Trust

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    Unlike a reporter who is immersed in a particular industry or beat, a curator often has a day job. Some are in the media industry and have access to their publication’s news sources; others are obsessed with the news and want to provide their network, community or followers with what they think is important. But the common thread between curators is that they are viewed as trustworthy sources of information.

    Torie Rose DeGhett, a staff writer at Current Intelligence, and blogger at The Political Notebook, agrees. “Curation has to be credible. If all I do is use my curation to attack somebody, or if I blatantly try to confuse an issue or make it seem like something it isn’t, that’s wrong on a fundamental level. If I do that, then I can’t be trusted as a source and people should have no reason to take what I do seriously.”

    Building trust is important to validating curation as an evolutionary form of journalism, and many curators believe they should be held to the same standards as journalists.

    Ethical standards and transparency (like citing/crediting sources) are essential in building trust in a curator. DeGhett says, “The point is to share [news items] and lead people to it, not to claim it as your own… [But] my selection of sources is intended to make an argument, and to support certain things, not to present everything that’s out there or every side.”

    Carvin’s transparency is a great template for curators. “I publicly describe my Twitter feed as a one-man newsgathering operation that’s open to the world for viewing.” He relies on people to feed him information, which he retweets to his followers and lets them “help me figure it out by translating, adding context, finding independent sources, etc.”

    However, some curators believe that since they are not journalists creating content, journalistic standards don’t necessarily have to apply.

    The market researcher, curator and blogger who goes by the name “Kateoplis” says since “there’s virtually no editorial content attached to the articles we promote,” curating information doesn’t have to be held to the same standards as reporting. She continues, “We simply highlight the most valuable posts.” She does, however, believe there should be ethical guidelines to help curators, and in her role as an editor of the Tumblr news section, she provided their guidelines.

    Smith thinks “that curators should have more freedoms than traditional reporters in a couple senses, in that part of the appeal of good curation is that it carries the person’s footprint. Opinion isn’t really a bad thing, and in fact gives the content shape in this context.” When considering reporting standards, he continues, “the important part is 1) That it’s consistent, and 2) That it’s accurate. You have to do a little more direct listening to readers as a curator, because in a lot of ways, they are your sources.”

    Determining What’s Newsworthy

    curation image

    When a reporter covers a beat, they come up with story ideas via different methods — something in the industry that interests them, seeing a news hook another reporter may have alluded to (or missed), suggestions from their editor, and story ideas from a public relations team. And more often than not, reporters stay within the confines of their beat. Curators don’t have to.

    Curators aggregate and reblog content they find interesting, or think their readers will find interesting. Curators also seem to fall into one of two categories: Aggregation and reblogging content without any editorializing, or providing additional thoughts as part of their reblog, retweet, etc.

    The blogger behind PantslessProgressive determines what’s worthy of reblogging by “finding out what others are saying about that source, by observing who they interact with, and by the frequency and depth of their activity.”

    DeGhett reblogs “if it provides information that I think is really important to know or have awareness of — something about veteran’s issues, gay rights, transgender awareness, etc.” She’ll reblog if an article makes a great point or “brings up a great fact I think everyone should know.”

    Even though curators share certain characteristics of editors, they don’t enjoy the exact same role. When a curator gathers information for their community, the content is something they are passionate about. Reporters, as we’re taught, are not supposed to be passionate and interject opinion into their story.

    What’s Next For Curation?

    As journalism continues to evolve and adapt to advances in technology and the influence of social media, the role of the curator will continue to grow. Trusted curators, standards and better tools to filter content will be two things to watch over the coming months and years. Additionally, creating a work force of curators — whether freelancers or paid staff members — will help curation grow. Many news organizations, for example, are on Tumblr acting as curators, reblogging not only their publication’s content, but also other news sources that are relevant to their audience.

    As Anthony DeRosa, proposition leader at Reuters says, “We all have access to pretty much the same information sources, aside from the investigation and journalism that people at news agencies perform. There’s enough out there for someone who simply wants to be a helpful guide, to plant their flag and be a good resource for whatever it is they’re interested in. You can use RSS, Twitter, Storify, Storyful and any number of other tools to stay on top of what is happening and be a human filter for what I should be looking at.”

    More Digital Journalism Resources from Mashable:

    - Facebook’s Growing Role in Social Journalism
    - 10 Predictions for the News Media in 2011
    - The Future of Social Media in Journalism
    - The History of Content, From Cave Paintings to Flipboard [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Image courtesy of Flickr, B_Zedan

    More About: blogger, curation, curator, journalism, Journalist, media, News, social media

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