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Session: “Search is Dead: The Secret Sauce Behind Discovery” by Hayley Barna, co-founder, Birchbox; Katrina Lake, founder and CEO, Stitch Fix; and Ruzwana Bashir, CEO and founder, Peek. Moderator: Todd Yellin, vice president of product innovation, Netflix.

  • “Search is just table stakes” when it comes to delivering content. Combined with algorithms and stylists-curators [human curators], we can provide discovery.
  • Amazon is best for cheapest, fastest. Google for most viewed, popular. But I want “what’s right for me, not always the cheapest or fastest” [or found on the 20th page of Google search results].
  • Whether shopping or news, many seek emotional sustenance, are looking for things that make them feel good [or at least not feel bad, or powerless]. They need help sifting through thousands of choices.
  • When seeking registration to your website, ask questions that will provide essential information, have utility. Otherwise you are adding friction and increasing the possibility of losing a customer/reader/viewer.

Although this panel was about “shopping,” many of the insights can apply to news if you think of readers/viewers as shopping for information.

Session: “Curation is the Cure for Information Overload” by Jim Spencer, president and founder of Newsy; and Steve Rosenbaum of Waywire.com.

"Curation, not content, is king," asserted Steve Rosenbaum of waywire.com.

And he had the logic and examples to make his case. What started out as automated scraping moved up to RSS feeds, progressing to aggregators and has evolved to curation.

The volume of information and content requires filters. Algorithms — so far — aren't up to the task. They can't yet discern the necessary context and relevance to provide quality, context and value for a time-starved society.

Co-panelist Jim Spencer, president and founder of newsy.com, emphasized that quality and trust are challenging for machine-based aggregation, resulting in too much self referential, repetitive results. (Google, anyone?)

The audience is seeking coherence, Rose said. The volume of information is growing so vast, so unorganized that we need curation. If all you're doing is "curating" existing trusted sources, you're just an aggregator. Curation often includes a point of view, analysis, insights and new voices.

Newsy.com pulls together news feeds from multiple sources and provides its own insights and synthesizes them into a value-add story that takes the story and the viewer to new and expanded understandings. Discovering and delivering meaning is more valuable, or memorable, than just information or reporting.

News that is valuable is news you remember, news you repeat (share). Curation can accomplish that as well as original content, sometimes better.

Curation is earning a seat at the table of journalism and information sharing.

Spencer: We must not lose our capacity to hear each other.

 

Brian Steffens  
 
Director of Communications


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