On Thursday 15 September 2011 12:40 AM, Andrew Lih wrote:
On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 11:43 AM,
On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 12:34, Andrew
And, in Wikipedia's crowdsourced way,
potentially a re-oriented,
mobilized Wikinews could produce in one week what National Geographic
normally produces in one year. This could be a multimedia endeavor
that could kick up the Wikimedia efforts in audio and video that seem
to have stalled lately.
WMF's mission is about giving free access to "the sum of all human
Wikipedia is about condensing and curating knowledge.
Wikinews can be the force to go explore and acquire it.
Yes, exactly. I'm
currently working on an article about female genital
mutilation. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if I could find
some women who had experienced this, arrange an interview, contact a
Wikinews person in London, or Kenya, and ask them to put certain
questions to those women?
That way, you can make the interview and the article interactive, in
the sense that you could ask the women to address specific points in
the article, then link to the video in that section. It would give us
a whole new depth of coverage.
This is exactly what it's like to work for an international news
organization, where someone in the Timbuktu office has an idea, and
collaborates with someone in the local area to produce it. We do have
that potential as a movement. It's just a question of how to give
people the confidence, and the space to add their material. And to
have sensible editorial policies that encourage quality without
stifling early efforts.
Yes, and if you look at Achal Prabhala's Oral
Citations project, it's
very much in line with this.
Also, by coincidence, in the 1990s I oversaw a masters student project
covering FGM in Africa which had original reporting with women that
had undergone the procedure. Instead of that story just sitting on the
shelf, wouldn't it be great to have that body of reporting and those
interviews as part of a Wikimedia project that could be source
material? I focus in on A/V in particular for this effort, because it
provides a level of verifiability. Of course you can still fake/stage
audio and video, but it's more involved to do that than synthesizing
I've been following the Wikinews discussion, and I've been hesitant to
comment only because I know so little about it. The little I know tells
me that it could be something great, and perhaps the reason it's not
quite there yet is because it was ahead of it's time. Turn on the
television news today and it's routine to see tweet-ins and live comment
feeds from other social media; indeed, a significant chunk of what
mainstream American television channels report these days is feedback as
journalism. The other big thing happening here in India, for instance,
is citizen journalism - a tired, catch-all phrase but nevertheless a
firm reality - which forms at least two hours of every major news
channel's content per day.
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the world now follows the
Wikinews model. But Wikinews started up in 2004...while Twitter was
founded only in 2006, Apple's Iphone only hit the market in 2007...and
much of the infrastructure that could enable the Wikinews model of
journalism in mainstream media was built much after Wikinews was founded
as a project. I don't know enough about Wikinews and what's plaguing it
currently, but as an outsider it would seem to me that it has the
potential to be something really significant.
As for oral citations, or the idea of using audio and video interviews
to record knowledge, all of us who worked on the project would be
delighted if there were unintended consequences to the project, like
perhaps being of use to Wikinews, which is not something we thought
about at the outset. Michel (Castelo Branco) suggested earlier that as
Wikinews explicitly allows original research as a policy, it could be
used as a workaround for oral citations on Wikipedia. We don't have
fixed ideas about this and welcome discussion in general - though I
think there is value in facing the boundaries of citation on Wikipedia
squarely. We would like to offer up the project as a way to confront the
limitations of citations as currently allowed, the problem of knowledge
that isn't published in print, and, in time, open up a larger discussion
on this. (We'll be soon posting a wrap-up of the oral citations project
once a few things are done).
A related - and interesting - problem/opportunity is the vast amount of
audio-video archival material that already exists in the world, almost
none of which has any direct effect on Wikipedia. In most cases, tapping
into the 'raw' archive would be disallowed within Wikipedia on the
grounds of it constituting a 'primary source'. (This is also a problem
for Wikipedians who'd like to use private archives - even corporate
archives - as sources, but can't). But there is nothing to say that
Wikinews could not tap into this vast pool of curated material and
create 'news' out of it. In general, it would appear that Wikinews has a
set of very flexible policies and practices, and it seems as if they
could be put to boundless good use.
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