Browse > Home / How Wikipedia is struggling to adapt

January 4th, 2010 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

The number of ‘editor’ users of the site is no longer growing, despite an increase in articles, which will make it even harder for the site to monitor quality.

So how can the site, which is part of the infrastructure of the internet according to its founder, adapt and does this shift matter?

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark suggests not: “[F]reed from the inherent flaws of publications dominated by a narrow range of interests, Wikipedia could become ‘more reliable than anything we’ve ever seen’.”

Full story at this link…


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Stephen Farrell’s kidnap raises the ‘media blackout’ question: it’s time for a debate in the UK

September 10th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Comment, Newspapers, Press freedom and ethics

This week’s operation in Afghanistan to rescue New York Times journalist Stephen Farrell, during which a British soldier, Farrell’s Afghan translator (Sultan Munadi) and two civilians were killed, has provoked national debate in the UK:

“One senior Army source told the Daily Telegraph “When you look at the number of warnings this person had it makes you really wonder whether he was worth rescuing, whether it was worth the cost of a soldier’s life.” (

Many of the commenters on news stories feel very strongly that it was wrong for a journalist’s actions to lead to such tragic consequences, as Jon Slattery noted on his blog yesterday. Further still: “Members of the Armed Forces have expressed anger that he [Farrell] ignored warnings not to visit the site of an air strike on two hijacked fuel tankers that killed scores of Taliban and innocent villagers,” the Telegraph reported. Others defend the role of journalists in Afghanistan: for example, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists.

This tragic incident also raised another issue, that of media silence. Today a special report by Joe Strupp on Editor&Publisher questions whether media blackouts are appropriate when reporters are kidnapped in war zones. It’s an excellent overview of recent events, that looks back at the case of another New York Times journalist, David Rohde – the paper managed to keep news of his kidnap off Wikipedia until his escape seven months later.

The question of media blackout is one has raised in the past. In January, we reported on the silence surrounding the kidnap of the Telegraph’s Colin Freeman and José Cendon in Somalia. We had been asked not to report on the case by the Telegraph and the UK Foreign Office when the pair went missing at the end of 2008. The ban was lifted when they were released.

However, as we reported, some information was published before the blackout request was made clear: the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released information relating to the journalists’ kidnap on November 26 2008 and Roy Greenslade subsequently blogged about it at – the post was removed but it was still captured in the RSS feed.

It’s a complex issue that Strupp raises in his E&P article:

“With Rohde’s escape, a major debate ignited in and out of the journalism community about how responsible the coordinated secret had been. Was this a breach of journalistic ethics, sitting on a story for so long mainly because a colleague was involved?”

Strupp quotes Edward Wasserman, a journalism professor at Washington & Lee University in Virginia, who echoed claims of other critics, that the Times and similar news outlets would not do the same for a non-journalist: “Some people are in a position to implore the press for restraint better than others”.

It is a debate we need to have in the UK too: the London-based Frontline Club would be an ideal venue in which to hold a discussion with representatives from the UK foreign office, press freedom and safety organisations and news organisations raising the reasons for and against media blackouts. The practicalities of enforcement also need to be discussed. We understand that such an idea is in the pipeline, so we’ll keep you posted.

Please do share links to existing debate online.

In the meantime, here is a link to an item on this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme, featuring Frontline Club founder and cameraman (and former soldier) Vaughan Smith and the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen discussing the Stephen Farrell case.

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Journalism Daily: Trinity Mirror’s Midlands consultation, Wikipedia’s editorial changes and the industry chicken and egg conundrum

August 25th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism Daily

A daily round-up of all the content published on the site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

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Mashable: Wikipedia’s new editorial layer

“Now a core feature, perhaps a core principal, of ‘the free encyclopedia anyone can edit’ is about to become restricted,” writes Ben Parr at Mashable.

“According to The New York Times, editing articles about living people on Wikipedia will require approval from an experienced editor first.”

Full story at this link…

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Michael Gray: Wikipedia listed as Google News source

The headline says it all – check out Michael Gray’s screengrab of Google News listing Wikipedia as a source on major news stories.

Full post at this link…

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WindowOnTheMedia: Database journalism defined

An interesting day to flag this one up (given that the Guardian  is actively calling for people to play with the Swine Flu data today): Nicolas Kayser-Brill has written an entry on Wikipedia for ‘database journalism’.

Full story at this link…

Also see: #DataJourn Part 1: a new conversation ( Editors’ Blog)

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Similar posts: Wikipedia founder ends search engine project

April 2nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Search

Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales has announced the end of his ‘user-generated search engine’ project, Wikia Search.

Full story at this link…

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Wikipedia: Giles Hattersley’s ‘missing’ Wikipedia page

February 10th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

First – a piece by Giles Hattersley about Wikipedia referring to his own page on the site, which didn’t exist – the reference had been added during the sub-editing process.

Then – a ‘hatchet job’ entry is created to slight Hattersley and defend the encyclopaedia.

“It is not ok to create hatchet jobs about people for any reason, and especially if the reason is simply because you feel that they were wrong in some respect about Wikipedia. Not ok. Not ever,” writes (what appears to be) Wikipedia’s own Jimmy Wales.

Full story at this link…

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‘Dragon’s Den’ styled competition spawns

October 10th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Uncategorized

Eager to find a new innovative project, Trinity Mirror launched an ‘in-house’ competition in the style of ‘Dragon’s Den’.

The winner, Louise Midgely, a web developer at their north-east division, NCJ Media, won a cash prize and a share in future profits for her idea – to create a wikipedia specialising in the northeast area –

The site will offer a cache of digital archives documenting the region’s history.

People holding information about the region will be able to access and update the site with their own knowledge.

So far top searches include the Roman emperor Hadrian, Alan Shearer, and Tyneside gangster, Viv Graham.

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Brand Republic: Defamation charges against Wikipedia dropped

August 15th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Defamation charges brought against Wikipedia have been dismissed by a US court.

The claims that an entry on the site about literary agent Barbara Bauer was defamatory were thrown out after it was rule that those making defamatory comments are responsible and not the forum on which they were made.

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