How wikipedia turned into a leading source for daily news

Interesting article in this week's New York Times magazine:

For centuries, an encyclopedia was synonymous with a fixed, archival idea about the retrievability of information from the past. But Wikipedia’s notion of the past has enlarged to include things that haven’t even stopped happening yet. Increasingly, it has become a go-to source not just for reference material but for real-time breaking news — to the point where, following the mass murder at Virginia Tech, one newspaper in Virginia praised Wikipedia as a crucial source of detailed information....

But even when Wikipedia’s function is journalistic, its aim is not; rather than report the news, the goal is to act as a kind of phenomenally fast, bias-free digest of what others have already reported elsewhere. On a big news day, Wikipedia functions like a massive, cooperative blog — except that where most blogs’ function is to sieve news accounts through the filter of strong opinion, Wikipedia’s goal is the opposite: it strives to filter all the opinion out of it. With 10 or 20 or 50 pairs of eyes on every available news account, if one fact, or one loaded word — “terror,” say — appears in one of those accounts but not the others, Wikipedia’s own version will almost always screen it out. Not exactly investigative journalism, but it doesn’t pretend to be; it relies on others for that.



1 comments about 'How wikipedia turned into a leading source for daily news'

As the owner of a newsite of sorts, I looked in vain on Wikinews for some easy to understand guide to supplying news but what exists reads like rocket science. Help!

Posted by jason brown at July 9, 2007 7:20 PM

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