Wikipedia and Bloggers as Journalists

Aside from using Wikipedia as a starting point for research, I’ve only had a couple of editing encounters with the website. The first was sometime during my Sophomore year in high school when my Art History class had taken a trip to the library to do research for a project. A friend next to me was researching Cubism, and had come across the Wikipedia page on Pablo Picasso. A few minutes later, he told me to visit the same page and check out the list of his children – “Lee Hale” appeared right beneath Paloma. I’m not sure how long Lee remained as part of the Picasso family, but I know that it was up for at least a couple of days.

Andrew Lih’s lecture, as well as my personal experience with Wikipedia, demonstrate how far Wikipedia has come. I thought that the few key features mentioned by Lih that are necessary for Wikipedia to work were interesting – small simple tasks, large diverse groups, design for selfishness, and result aggregation. In a class last year, we were assigned the task of creating a Wikipedia page. After a few hours of attempting to fulfill Wikipedia’s criteria for a new entry, I tried submitting my page, and was denied. I thought of my experience when Lih talked about how most editing on Wikipedia is done at a small scale, and was not surprised to hear that. Editing typos on Wikipedia isn’t too difficult, but creating a new page is a different story. My attempt made me realize that Wikipedia has high standards of what is posted on their site, at least when creating an entirely new page.

I really liked the diagram that Lih created to define different types of bloggers and journalists. I thought that categorizing bloggers as either Non-commercial and Commercial, as well as Amateur or Professional drew clear distinctions between the different types of bloggers. I think it’s also interesting to considering the different levels of professionalism. Lih defined professional standards as abiding by journalistic terms – being accurate, fair, and treating your content as trying to find the truth. He gave the example of the New York Times as professional, as well as Wikipedia.

I’m curious how Lih would categorize our class as bloggers. I think that most of us intend to be accurate and fair with our writing, and try and convey the truth. Many of us cite reliable, verifiable sources. Does this make each of us a professional blogger? Do we fall into the same category as Wikipedia, being Non-commercial and also professional? If we’re considered professional, should we be considered journalists? From Lih’s diagram, it seems like being professional is more important than being commercial. He placed Fox News in the Amateur/Commercial category. If they do not work up to the qualities that they advertise, should they no longer be considered journalists, even though they have many followers?




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4 responses to “Wikipedia and Bloggers as Journalists

  1. This is a great post Talin, your best yet! You bring together a lot of points and ask some smart questions. For what class did you try to write the Wikipedia page? And what was your attempted page?

  2. I like how you talk about your experience with creating a Wikipedia page. I never realized that they had such high standards, I always thought anyone could edit or create anything they wanted on a Wikipedia page. I learned a lot from Andrew Lih’s speech and I like that you have actually had personal experience with what he mentions.

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