NEWS OF THE WIKI. What is wiki news? Damned if I know. John Mello tries to figure it out - and quotes ignorant me - at TechNewsWorld.
Just to prove that I'm not 100 percent ignorant, wiki news - and an actual demonstration of it, known, fortuitously enough, as Wikinews - is news produced on a collective basis using software that allows people to collaborate on Web pages. As envisioned by Wikinews, the content will be produced by amateur volunteers. Supposedly it will be more impartial and fact-oriented than blogs, since other users can log in and revise stories that they find too attitudinal.
It doesn't sound promising - especially when you consider that the stories posted so far are rewrites from mainstream media sources. Also, since everything is subject to "peer review," how can you call it "news"? "Olds" is more like it.
Wikinews is associated with the Wikipedia, a volunteer-produced free encyclopedia that is rapidly becoming a reference of choice. Often I'll find stuff in the Wikipedia that's deeper and that appears to be better than what's available in my academic subscription to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
But there's the ever-present question of who's producing what. With the Britannica, I can assume that editors put quite a bit of thought into each entry, starting with which experts should be asked to contribute in any particular field. With the Wikipedia - well, who knows?
Wiki news - and Wikinews - will be worth watching, but I've got my doubts.
A PYRRHIC VICTORY. Though I'm certainly glad that WJAR-TV (Channel 10) investigative reporter Jim Taricani will probably not have to go to prison, there's something galling about the fact that the judge and the special prosecutor got what they wanted.
Taricani is blameless - it was his source, defense attorney Joseph Bevilacqua Jr., who finally stepped forward. But the Taricani case, unfortunately, now stands as an example of how the government can pressure journalists in order to obtain the names of confidential sources.
NEW IN THIS WEEK'S PHOENIX. Why that video of a marine shooting an insurgent in Fallujah has already started to fade.