Flux of facts – the fate of news in a wired world

Paul Raven @ 19-02-2008

TV-journalistSteve Rubel points us to an article at American Journalism Review that discusses the hazards of newsrooms relying on Wikipedia for research and citations. [Image by rabbleradio]

This is hardly a new story (though usually we hear about the horrors of students rather than journalists citing the online encyclopedia), but it’s not going away any time soon – in the always-on 24/7 culture of the web, the only constant is change. As Rubel puts it:

“The big question in my mind is this: when journalists cite Wikipedia articles, what happens when the facts they reference from the wiki entries change (assuming they do)? Do the reporters go back and update their articles? The news reports call more attention to the articles, potentially opening up a can of worms each time they source Wikipedia.

Seems like a big vicious cycle. Perhaps in the future these stories will carry some of the same disclaimers that Wikipedia lists.”

And if you think that’s a symptom of postmodernism running wild, what about CNN handing over the reins of iReport to the community of citizen-journalists who contribute to it? [Via SlashDot]

Are the definitions of “truth” and “consensus” converging? Were they ever really different?


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