The challenge of a (university research) council website

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“Those ‘traditional’ consumers are joined by younger readers who prefer to find their news ‘unfiltered’ on the web. We are trying to serve both groups, and we are delighted with the enthusiasm that our new British partners bring to the effort.”

That from a press release for Futurity.org reported in journalism.co.uk.

It’s essentially a website for Universities to publish research and news about their research. Why? Because…

In an increasingly complex world, the public needs access to clear, reliable research news. Futurity does the work of gathering that news. Think of it as a snapshot of where the world is today and where it’s headed tomorrow. Discover the future

A lot of this has a familiar ring. The claims sound a lot like the reasons why journalism is so important and the role of journalists will be vital.

But it also reminds me of the some of the issues that surround much of the ‘council newspapersdebate. These are organizations who should be open up to a bit of ‘filtering’ especially when there is public money involved . The content they put out should be open to scrutiny and question.

Of course this risks becoming a circular argument. If journalism was doing its job and reporting science properly then they wouldn’t need to do this.

Futurity.org

But it also goes to underline what we already know but many media orgs seem to be unable to respond to; communities are using the web to tell their own stories.

In the case of Futurity.org it’s a community of interest (with all the self-interest issues that brings) but it’s just as common with hyperlocal communities of geography.

Whatever the motivation, is this the kind of thing that journalism needs to step up to?

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