Universities unite to present research to consumers


futurity-map1Thirty-five top universities, including many of North America’s leading research institutions, have banded together to create Futurity.org, a site designed to bypass the media and present their research directly to the public. According to Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed, each institution contributed $2,000 to help get the site started.

Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury News, reports that the site will function as a sort of social media wire service, intended to feed cleaned-up press releases to social media sites like Twitter and MySpace as well as news aggregators like Google News. Rogers found that the universities were turning to new media because of what they said was a decline in reliable science reporting.

Curtis Brainard of Columbia Journalism Review points to an important potential issue:

Labeling and transparency, however, are likely to become even greater issues for Futurity once it finalizes its syndication deals with Google News and Yahoo News. If that happens, its posts will be listed online next to similar items from traditional outlets like the Associated Press or The New York Times, making differentiation vitally important.

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Andrew Van Dam