Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

Curated knowledge, trenchant insights & witty bon mots

First wikipedias, now wikinews

Samatha Israel posted this earlier this week at blogonblog.

First, you may be wondering what a wiki is. Allow me to explain!

Go to your copy of We The Media: Grassroots journalism by the people, for the people by Dan Gillmor (you do have a copy, don't you? :) ) and turn to page 31.

For those of you behind the curve who don't have your own copy of We The Media, I'll quote a few lines for you.

“Ward Cunningham, who invented Wikis, defines them in many ways, calling them composition systems, discussion mediums, repositories, mail systems, and chat rooms. “It's a tool for colloboration,” he writes. “In fact, we don't really know what it is, but it's a fun way of communicating.”

Essentially, it allows any user to modify the content on any page — although there's limits.

There was an NYT story back in October about some of the shenanigans around the Wikipedia entries of John Kerry and George W. Bush during the recent U.S. presidential election. For example, clicking on a picture of Dubya in his Texas Air National Guard uniform would bring up a larger picture of Hitler.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the three-year-old Wikipedia, made certain people administrators. It also put a lock-down on changes to those pages.

Now comes an experiment with Wikinews. Here's the intro:

Welcome to Wikinews, a free content news source. We started in November 2004, and have currently written 163 articles. Our mission is to create a diverse environment where citizen journalists can independently report the news on a wide variety of current events. Find out how you can get involved right now.

Please give us some time to sort out the policies and procedures before relying on Wikinews as a source. Voice your opinion on policies on the talk page or at the water cooler.

I'm not sure when in November the site got started (it's got a great, big Beta sticker on it), but right now, it has 163 stories. I suspect that would be a day's worth of news for a global site.

But I also don't think that's where the future of such citizen-driven news is going anyway. User-driven, open-source news will likely organize around communities of interest.

It will be interesting to see how those communities handle genuine differences of opinion on what the “facts” are.

Another factor is what happens to the the current corporate general news model that exists. Will citizen-driven sites complement or compete with them?

Sorry, I only have questions tonight.

Now, if you've read this far, make sure you read the post on Dan Gillmor starting up a citizen journalism venture.


Fri, December 10 2004 » Main Page