A big part of the reason he is such an effective aggregator for both audiences and news sites is that he actually acts like one. Behemoth aggregators like Yahoo News and The Huffington Post have become more like fun houses that are easy to get into and tough to get out of. Most of the time, the summary of an article is all people want, and surfers don’t bother to click on the link. But on The Drudge Report, there is just a delicious but bare-bones headline, there for the clicking. It’s the opposite of sticky, which means his links actually kick up significant traffic for other sites.
You know what is scarce? Time and attention. People are inundated with abundant information these days, and what they look for are trusted aggregators, curators and filters of that information. They seek those out because it saves them time, and lets them direct their attention more efficiently. In other words, people value the aggregation, because it serves a valuable role when the content is infinitely available, but time is not.
Instead of aggregating news headlines, [The Study is] going to aggregate academic papers from universities and think tanks—a genre of writing and thinking that has a lot to add to the world but that doesn’t get much attention from the media. We’re going to marry this academic writing to the day’s headlines, tying together what people are talking about in the world as a whole at any given moment with what various researchers and thinkers have discovered about these topics. Hopefully, if we do a good job, this project will inject some unexpected and valuable perspectives into the political debate.
Richard Just, The New Republic, Introducing ‘The Study’.
Just describes TNR’s hesitation about typical aggregation strategies but the necessity of implementing the practice in general. We think their idea is great and look forward to following as they proceed.