June 29, 2005
Wikipedia as Participatory Journalism: Reliable Sources? Metrics for evaluating collaborative media as a news resource
Lih, Andrew. Wikipedia as Participatory Journalism: Reliable Sources? Metrics for evaluating collaborative media as a news alternative.” 5th International Symposium on Online Journalism. 16-17 April, 2004. http://staff.washington.edu/clifford/teaching/readingfiles/utaustin-2004-wikipedia-rc2.pdf. 29 June 2005.
Wikipedia background and aspects of participatory journalism are inititially discussed, but most interesting is the fact that Lih develops a quantitative method for analyzing quality in Wikipedia articles. Articles were analyzed according to the average number of edits and number of unique editors, with the assumption that higher numbers of each would indicate a higher-quality article. (Unique editors = diversity, number of edits = rigor.) After benchmarks had been established, media citations of specific Wikipedia articles were tracked. Before being cited, 15% of articles exceeded the benchmark standard. After media citations, 31% did (15-16).
Lih concludes that “there is a linkage between Wikipedia as a ‘working draft of history’ and current news events. ... The tight feedback loop between reading and editing provides for a very quick evolution of encyclopedia knowledge, providing a function that has been missing in the traditional media ecology.” (19).