Wikipedia Journalism and Neojournalism
Oct 24, 2011
Wikipedia's Evolution: From Encyclopedia to Journalism and the Challenges of Neo-Journalism
An information provided by Mediashift shows that it took 660 seconds for [Wikipedia] to have its first entry about the tsunami in Japan, in Japanese. Twenty-one minutes later, there was already an English version of the same entry. The [New York Times], a titan and famous brand of global journalism, took 180 minutes to give the first note on its website. Wikipedia, since its inception, has proposed to not be a journalistic tool, trying to dedicate itself to its encyclopedic vocation. However, the nature of its existence based on [crowdsource] forces it to accept roles even against its will. Today, the site created by [Jimmy Wales], is arguably more journalistic than many traditional media players.
In fact, when Wikipedia was thought of, about a decade ago, very few people could imagine that user-generated content would become an overwhelming provider of the web. The success of the venture became a challenge, as the crowdsource keeps showing signs that it is no longer an option but the rule. Instead of managing large content production hubs, information companies need to develop new ways to curate and manage content produced by hundreds and thousands of providers. The logic of the thing remains the same - trying to offer the most accurate information - but the bias has changed.
The migration of the crowdsource condition from "option" to "rule" creates new dilemmas for journalism. Does it make sense to maintain journalism schools that worry about a 50-year-old curriculum and do not put professionals on the market who write with correct grammar? Is it worth looking for graduated journalists instead of specialized analysts in certain subjects who write well? How to control the flow of information going from managing ten providers to taking care of ten thousand? Power comes with responsibility, and collaborative journalism needs to be aware of the fact that it has more and more of both. Therefore, being aware of the risks in neo-journalism is essential, as well as, taking advantage of the huge opportunities it offers.