Los Angeles Times Switches to All-Wiki Format

…OK, not really. It’s an April Fool’s Day spoof from Bunkmag.com, and it’s definitely better than any prank I’ve dreamed up so far today. If you need a laugh (and really, who in the news business doesn’t?) then go check out The Los Wikiless Timespedia. This had me in hysterics, especially considering the LA Times’ infamous wikitorial debacle of 2005.

Here are a few highlights that appeared on this editable site as of the posting of this Tidbit (although I can’t guarantee any of this will still appear exactly as described, or at all, when you go there):

Want to join the “staff” of the Los Wikiless Timespedia? just sign up as a Bunkwiki contributor and post/edit to your heart’s content!

(I cross-posted this piece from Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits. Thanks to David Thomas for the tip via Twitter.)

Fixing Old News: How About a Corrections Wiki?

Any news org should be able to do more with corrections than this…
Denver Post 8/30/2007, p. 2B
Or this… What? You can’t see the corrections on that page?
Denver Post 8/30/2007, p. 2B
…Look way down here in the corner

Even the best journalists and editors sometimes make mistakes. Or sometimes new information surfaces that proves old stories — even very old stories — wrong, or at least casts them in a vastly different light. What’s a responsible news organization to do, especially when those old stories become more findable online?

On Aug. 28, Salon.com co-founder Scott Rosenberg posted a thoughtful response to a Aug. 26 column by New York Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt: When Bad News Follows You.

In a nutshell, the Times recently implemented a search optimization strategy that increased traffic to its site — especially to its voluminous archives. This meant that stories from decades past suddenly appeared quite prominently in current search-engine results. The Times charges non-subscribers to access archived stories.

Hoyt wrote: “People are coming forward at the rate of roughly one a day to complain that they are being embarrassed, are worried about losing or not getting jobs, or may be losing customers because of the sudden prominence of old news articles that contain errors or were never followed up.”

“…Most people who complain want the articles removed from the archive. Until recently, The Times’s response has always been the same: There’s nothing we can do. Removing anything from the historical record would be, in the words of Craig Whitney, the assistant managing editor in charge of maintaining Times standards, ‘like airbrushing Trotsky out of the Kremlin picture.'”

Hoyt’s column offered no options for redress. He didn’t suggest that the Times might start researching more disputed stories or posting more follow-up stories. Nor did he suggest that the Times might directly link archived stories to follow-ups.

Rosenberg asserts that the Times has an obligation to offer redress. Personally, I agree. Plus, I’ve got an idea of how they (or any news org) could do it — and maybe even make some money in the process…

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The “W list” is great, except it’s a link farm

Holly’s Corner
Many blogs, like this one, have posted the full W-list with links. Is that really a good thing?

Lately there’s been a meme going around called the “W list” — a lengthy list of links to high-quality blogs published by women.

As far as I’ve traced it back, the kernel of this movement began with an Aug. 7 post by PR blogger Valeria Maltoni. But the momentum really picked up when my friend and colleague, the noted PR/marketing blogger Toby Bloomberg, christened an expanded version of the list “the W list” on Aug. 16. Since then, the full list of links has been reposted on many blogs around the world.

The W list was Toby’s response to Ad Age’s Power 150, “a ranking of the top English-language media and marketing blogs in the world, as developed by marketing executive and blogger, Todd Andrlik.” That list was based mostly on quantitative popularity in Google, Technorati, and Bloglines — and it contained very few blogs by women.

Toby’s laudable aim was to bring much deserved attention and “Google juice” to accomplished female bloggers, many of whom are writing for niche communities and so don’t make the kind of numbers it takes to get on Ad Age’s Power 150. I think that’s crucial in any field, since (especially when you’re talking about blogs for a particular niche or industry), the quality of the content usually is far more important than search engine ranking, site traffic, or number of subscribers.

I’m honored that Toby included me on her W list, and I recognize many fabulous bloggers there that are worth checking out. I definitely don’t mean to trash this effort. However, there is a problem with it: I think it’s become a link farm, which could end up backfiring on the bloggers who post the list of links, and perhaps those who are included on it.

Here’s why I’m raising this red flag…

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Teaching Online Skills: Journalism Prof Wants Ideas

MSU prof Dave Poulson wants to lead his students into the murky waters of online media.

(NOTE: I’m cross-posting this from Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits, since I thought Contentious readers might find it interesting as well.)

Today I received an intriguing query from my colleague Dave Poulson, associate director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. With his permission, I’m excerpting and answering it here.

Poulson wrote: “…I’m going to take your concept of coming up with a toolkit of basic online stuff a reporter should know and turn it into some class assignments. I’ll have them pick a beat and set up Google Reader to [subscribe to] relevant feeds. I’m not sure how I’ll evaluate the result.”

That’s a great idea, Dave! Make sure they practice subscribing to search feeds (about topics), as well as feeds from specific sources (like blogs). And here’s a short video tutorial on Google Reader I made for one of my clients. The first half of it is the bare basics, most applicable to what your students would be doing.

To evaluate this assignment, you could have student export their feed list as an OPML file and send it to you. In Google Reader, that’s under “manage subscriptions,” then “import/export” (choose the “export” option there.) You can then import that OPML file into your Google Reader (or many other feed readers) to see what they’ve subscribed to.

Poulson continues…

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Shared Docs: Gateway Drug to Wikis?

Chris Carfi, via Flickr (CC license)
Wiki maven Liz Henry of SocialText.

At the unconference segment of BlogHer 2007 in Chicago, I sat in on a small-group discussion about wikis (sites that can be collaboratively edited either by a defined group, or by anyone at all).

The discussion was led by one of my favorite wiki mavens, Liz Henry of Socialtext. I was glad that this group included some total wiki newbies (even wikiphobes) as well as wiki fans. That diversity of view was useful because, I’ve found, the concept of a wiki is rather alien and even suspicious to many people. It’s hard to give up the idea of one person having control over a document.

One thing that emerged from this discussion is that most of the wiki newbies or wikiphobes did know, and had used, shared documents via services such as Google Docs or Zoho. That concept was less alien to them than a wiki because it utilized familiar document types (word processing, spreadsheet, etc.) and because it solved a common problem — the frustration of a team working on a document passed around by e-mail.

That got us thinking: If you’re trying to introduce a team or community to wikis to aid some sort of collaboration, and if you’re meeting resistance or low adoption rates for the wiki, try working first with a shared document. Once they get used to the idea of collaborating on a document (any document, really) via the Web, wikis start to look more appealing and make more sense.

What do you think of this approach? Have you tried it? Did it work or not? Please comment below.

(NOTE: I originally published this item on Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits.)

Wiki as presentation tool: Pretty cool!

Editing the wiki during this workshop was really easy.

As I mentioned earlier, yesterday I gave a workshop about current trends in online media to about a dozen staffers at New Hope Media here in Boulder. In that workshop I tried something new: using a wiki as a presentation tool.

Wow, that worked really well, I think! Definitely better than using a blog post as a presentation aid/handout, which is what I normally do — and of course light years ahead of a Powerpoint presentation, which I loathe under any circumstance.

Here’s the wiki I created for that workshop, using the free service PBwiki.

And here’s what I liked about this approach… Continue reading

BlogHer 06: Tons of Coverage

Over the last few days I (and a few other people) have been adding to the BlogHer 06 live/post blogging coverage wiki. It now features dozens of links. I won’t have a chance to add much to it over the next few days, and I know there are plenty of items that aren’t on there yet which should be.

This is an open public wiki, so if you know of a link that should be on there but isn’t yet, please click "edit page" to add it. Thanks!

More live- and post-blogging from BlogHer

Just a quick note – I’m continuing to update the BlogHer 06 live blogging wiki I created yesterday. If you attended BlogHer in person or virtually and blogged it, or come across such coverage, please stop by and add it to the wiki.

I’ve organized the wiki according to the conference schedule. General post-mortems appear at the end of the list.

Thanks to the people who have already been contributing to this wiki! I definitely can’t do this all by myself.