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A View from Brad King

Wired News Dabbles in Collaborative Journalism

The online news site has opened up an article to its readers, allowing them to add–and delete–whatever they choose.

  • August 29, 2006

Wired News wants your help.

Reporter Ryan Singel is writing a story on the wiki phenomenon, and as part of the reporting, he’s decided to post his piece online, allowing anyone to make changes to the headline, deck, and body, along with adding links and whatever other information the masses deem necessary.

It’s an interesting experiment, and one that has been tried to varying degrees of success. The Los Angeles Times tried out a “wikitorial,” a collaboratively written editorial, and had to pull down the site soon after it went live because it was being flooded with “inappropriate material.”

And last year, Technology Review’s own Wade Roush used his blog to write a magazine story, “Social Computing” – an experiment that’s much easier to handle. After all, you can always turn off the comments on a blog – not so much on a wiki.

How will Wired News’ experiment in participatory journalism end? It’s hard to tell – but the company certainly has come a long way in its thinking. In 2002, when I worked there, an editor told me that blogs were nothing more than glorified home pages. Clearly, times have changed.

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