Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wiki Journalism

In "Wiki Journalism" Paul Bradshaw discusses wikis, "…Web based applications that allow multiple authors to add, remove, and edit content in a process of collaborative authoring." (241). Wikis have been known for hosting project plans, encyclopedia entries, scientific research, and much citizen journalism. Although there are some very amateur wikis, theres are some that are quite legitimate through monitoring. Wikinews for example, requires that sources be cited and verifiable and that field notes must be presented in terms of reporting. With all the benefits of wikis, even mainstream new organizations have begun to use them internally. Multiple journalists are able to collaborate, access, and edit information at once, create dialogue, and translate articles to and from other languages. One of the most controversial aspects of wikis, is that of user-generated content or citizen journalism. People are able to post their opinions, ideas, and knowledge of a subject and in some cases edit what is already written. This can be seen as a positive when the content is accurate, however it is very common for material to be biased or straight out wrong. I once had a professor that was an extreme opposer of using wikis as sources for our papers and craved to make his point about why they are an illegitimate source. After handing out the prompt for a paper, he looked up the subject on wikipedia and wrote a bunch of nonsense about it that was completely irrelevant and inaccurate to see if any students would use the information in their papers. After grading, he said a surprising amount of what he wrote had reappeared in his students' work- noting that a few days later his strange edits to the wiki had been removed and the original version was restored. With the 5 different kinds of wikis, from second-draft, to crowd sourcing, supplementary, open, and logistical, there is no doubt that they are beneficial resources, but hold weaknesses in terms of vandalism and inaccuracy.

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