wiki-edited journalism

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Do you know what a Wiki is? I suspect most people who read this drivel do, even if the majority of the general public don’t. But Wikis are, in theory, all about the general public: letting anyone edit a page of a website, on the basis that the wisdom of crowds will be greater than the wisdom of an individual.

To test this theory, a Wired News journalist put up an article on Wikis on a Wiki as an experiment to see how community participation could improve (or not) an article. He sums up the experience in The Wiki That Edited Me. Was it a success?

Is it a better story than the one that would have emerged after a Wired News editor worked with it?

I think not.

The edits over the week lack some of the narrative flow that a Wired News piece usually contains. The transitions seem a bit choppy, there are too many mentions of companies, and too much dry explication of how wikis work.

The conclusion – that Wikis are good tools for creating reference documents, but poor ones for creative the sort of narratives that journalism thrives on, isn’t really a surprise. The journalist’s job is just as much about shaping facts into a narrative as it is gathering those facts in the first place.

Technorati Tags: journalism, journalist, [web 2.0]( 2.0), wiki

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.