Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’


Who Says It’s Not A REAL Source?!

March 13, 2008

So far, my understanding about citizens’ journalism has been in the context of recreation.* Although, one could argue that blogging has the potential to become somewhat of a scholarly resource, because many people who are hosting and adding content to blogs are experts in their field. Whether it be fashion-clad industry members, or foodies that receive due recognition from Wolfgang Puck’s former executive sous chef, these pages of frequently update information are essential to anyone’s keen interest or research from an experienced member of society who is choosing to give away content for free! The art of sharing one’s expertise (and nothing else) seems to be as close to any source as you can get, not to mention that if others have made it popular, it is going to be easy to find through a quick Google search.

Gillmor talks about the “Wiki Media Phenomenon” in chapter seven of our text. He calls is “a profoundly democratized form of online data gathering”. I agree that Wikipedia IS the most fascinating development of the Media Age, and specifically the years of my college career. Thousands of people around the world have taken it upon themselves to dedicate many hours of their days to supply me with unequivocally updated research, complete with photos, and links to more resources on the Internet, helping me to make impressive statements in my classes and in papers. So let me take a moment to say: “Thank you”! I’m very impressed by Gillmor’s defense for Wikipedia and its level of credibility. Unlike many of my college professors who have shunned any use of wiki-articles as citations for academic papers, Gillmor suggests that the volunteers who are contributing their content to one website are careful to make sure that the information is as accurate as it can possibly be. Isn’t that better than using some JSTOR article or archived media article from the New York Times from 2005 when I’m just trying to find minute details of information like dates and locations?

The blog community (Wikipedia) is especially resilient. Of course, that makes sense if most of the content gets edited based on pure intellectual debate about what facts to add to the pages to make them fuller and complete. Such hard work should encourage pay for many of these blogging sites and they do, through advertising. Sponsors have been laying the bricks around the best blogs in the world. Gilmor talks about the Internet’s dual ability to present an enormous foundation for bloggers and the tool for collecting funds from potential sponsors. Talk about pimping the system! Bloggers like Andrew Sullivan and Chris Allbritton solicited and bribed money from readers who were really interested in their material. While readers were paying for content in a sense, the work that was produced was quality and truthful, better than Big Media can say about itself especially when involving themes of Iraq and the W-A-R.

The most important part of the blog community is people’s interests and blogger’s responsibilities to adhere to that of their audiences once they have been established. Readers are going to choose what they are interested in and if the material is good, they will stick to it and probably share their new found treasures with others. Blog communities are self-sufficient and they can thrive on their own because of the participation that occurs within them. Gillmor gives a wonderful example of that when he talks about Allbritton’s venture to northern Iraq to cover the war. Readers were posting mounds of comments and information to communicate with Allbritton- the information and news that he probably did not have much access to in Iraq. What troopers!

Chris Allbritton didn’t really belong to the troops but he sure would have had my support on covering the war on Iraq had I known about his blog and requests for sponsorship- before reading Gillmor this evening while browsing Wikipedia. Talk about scholarly- I now feel compelled to belligerently site Allbritton’s blog on any paper I had to write about scholarly sources or perform research on an acceptable level of credibility. How much more real can you get?

*Disclaimer: I am aware that there are some blog prodigies out there-and that many more are making personal blogs into every large names that are highly recognized and pulling in a lot of money. That’s cool. And trust me I am not trying to jinx myself.