Content on Online Publications: to Republish or Not to Republish

Andrew Nusca’s latest entry in his blog, “the Editorialiste,” overviews one major issue with online publications—creating original work versus aggregating content from other sources. Many print news publications republish other content to fill empty space or add further coverage beyond their local news, but now online news can be easily and quickly republished without proper attribution.

Users on the Internet can legally republish a portion of another person’s content by attribution and including a link to the original content. For many online news publications, aggregation enables them to save time, money and resources while still posting speedy content.

Nusca includes a Twitter discussion about creating an online publication using only original content versus creating one using a collection of content from third-party sources. Gizmodo editorial director Brian Lam Tweeted, “the net’s greatest threat to journalism is not old vs new, its that reporters no longer get as much exposure to new sources in real life.”

The two Twitter members in the discussion attributed the degree of online news aggregation to the business and the budget. It will be interesting to see if publications can find a sustainable option that provides solid, original reporting without adding outside content, but I think most will ultimately rely on a good balance of both. Nusca said, “Aggregate, or report? On its face, it seems you don’t really have a choice. Your popularity dictates the answer to that.”

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