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How Healthy Is Your News Diet?

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Not too long ago, "curation" was a concept rarely discussed outside the context of musty museums and highbrow galleries.

Today, curation is on everyone's lips, particularly in the context of online news and other digital media content.

Where once it was left to professional journalists to feed us what we needed to know, we can now choose the news we want to hear, buffet-style, from the internet, where virtually anyone can publish or share anything.

Buffets are great, of course, but there's always a temptation to bypass the broccoli and head straight for the brownies -- and with all that food sitting around unattended, can you ever really be sure of what you're eating?

The ability to personalize our news diets has given rise to fears that we'll end up inside echo chambers of the like-minded, gorging on brownies and ignoring the broccoli we need to function as informed citizens.

Eli Pariser, of the American citizen action group MoveOn.org, labelled the phenomenon in his 2011 book, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You. "While it's sometimes convenient to see only what you want to see, it's critical at other times that you see things that you don't," Pariser wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece last May.

On Wednesday, April 25, in Stratford, Ont., two top Canadian journalists will discuss and debate the implications of filter bubbles at Canada 3.0, the annual conference hosted by the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN).

John Stackhouse, editor-in-chief of Canada's most-respected national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, will sit down with Mathew Ingram, a Toronto-based senior writer for GigaOM, one of the world's top blog networks. Guiding the discussion will be Matt Galloway, host of CBC Radio's Metro Morning, Toronto's most popular morning show.

The 45-minute talk, followed by a question-and-answer session, is sure to provoke thought and reflection on how we choose to inform ourselves in the digital age.

Disclosure: Anthony Reinhart is a paid staff writer for Communitech, a member node of the Canadian Digital Media Network