[Foundation-l] WMF and the press

Anthony wikimail at inbox.org
Sat Apr 26 16:37:15 UTC 2008

On Sat, Apr 26, 2008 at 11:28 AM, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>  b) public view. Every time we sneeze, there is a journalist to report
>  it, claiming we caught the flu and are dying. There are leaks to the
>  press in private lists. It is disastrous because it created an
>  atmosphere of distrust, and many issues are no more discussed by fear of
>  being repeated

Maybe I'm naive, but I really don't understand this fear of the press.
 It's especially ironic considering that the Wikimedia Foundation is
dedicated to providing free access to knowledge, and the press is
heavily used in obtaining and sourcing that knowledge.  Is the claim
that the press often gets it wrong, and that the general public is
stupid enough to believe whatever the press tells them, and won't
change its mind when presented with the truth?  I might buy that (the
first part is pretty much incontrovertibly true), though I'd find it
at odds with the whole concept of Wikimedia projects (that
Wikimedians, on average, can find reliable sources, sort the wheat
from the chaff, and get to the truth).

If you sneeze, and a journalist reports you caught the flu and are
dying, what's the big problem?  Doesn't going to great lengths to make
sure no one ever sees you sneeze again only serve to compound the
problem?  You seem to suggest the problem is the atmosphere of
distrust, but I don't see how that problem was caused by the press.

The WMF has an odd relationship with the press.  And this isn't a new
thing.  I didn't notice it until recently, but when I look back I see
this fear of (or aversion to) the press has been there for years.  And
it's not just you, Florence, though yours was the first one I noticed.
 I see David Gerard has also made some particularly negative comments
about the press.  And that's without really looking to see if it's
something systemic within the organization.

The WMF's relationship with the press would have been an interesting
thing to talk about with Brian Bergstein.  I wish I hadn't missed that
web chat.  Any chance you might invite him back?

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