Wiki Journalism Model

"WIKI Media Model Beats Traditional Media Model in the age of Instant Rumors"


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A California community college newsroom recently scored a major scoop—the photojournalist was there when a campus security guard was gunned down. But even though the photojournalist had immediate access to the student online news site and could publish minutes later, the photo was embargoed while the campus staff followed the time-honored tradition of not publishing until a government official said the family had been notified by the government.

That worked in World War II. However, it is my bet the family knew of their son's wounding in about five minutes with a cellphone call from someone who saw it. And many across the area knew it within the hour via text messaging, blogs, FaceBook postings, etc., long before authorities got their act together. No one ever coined the phrase, "Doing business at the speed of government."

The journalist today is often the last to know and the last to publish.

And those following traditional newspaper policies miss the lessons from broadcasters who regularly have live cameras at events involving violence and death. What if the web sites had embargoed the London Bombing or the 9/11 images until notification of next of kin?

Waiting to publish is just letting rumors get a head start.

Waiting to publish denies readers information that may save their lives. Think Virginia Tech.

In the traditional media model above, a compilation of several popular models taught in journalism grad schools, we can see the reader has very little interaction with the editors—and noise permeates the system. There is little chance for the editors to hear the cellphone calls, read the blogs or text messages the readers are sharing.

The traditional journalist works in isolation.


The WIKI Media Model provides immediate access to the story by both the editors and the readers, each looking over the other's shoulder to see if the facts agree with what the other has collected or observed. Each can edit the other, though the editor still has the power of ultimate distribution, important in the face of political and corporate vandalism that we have observed on Wikipedia.Com. At the same time, it is the readers who spot such vandalism more often than Wikipedia monitor, according to reports. And new monitoring software can now reveal the name of the self-serving reader/editor.

As you can see, the WIKI editing model appears to have fewer places in which noise can insert itself.

If journalists don't trust their readers, why should readers trust us?

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