Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The wikiscanner coverage is still flowing fast. Keith Olbermann had a misguided take, for example:

It's not his fault.* The media coverage around this has been deeply mediocre. With the exception, as usual, of the NYTimes piece (and here's their Wikipedia feed), nobody reported two essential facts:

  1. Contentious wikipedia articles are edited every hour of the day. Anonymous edits are always suspect. Any edit that looks unproductive (like deleting an entire section without comment) gets reverted immediately -- as, indeed, these edits were.

    This side of the story would have required some actual reporting (digging to see how the edits influenced the later article), and reporting means boots on the ground, which means payroll.

  2. "Anonymous" wikipedia contributors are actually the only editors that aren't allowed to be anonymous. As soon as you choose a WP username, your IP address stops being shown.

Sure, those aren't the most important elements of the story. But not including them anywhere in the article? Pull up your socks.

* Note to Olbermann: Edward R. Murrow was a journalist, not an anchor.


orinenglish said...

What was "misguided" about Olbermann's take? Olbermann's article is one of THE most contentious Wikipedia articles of all and it is subject to constant vandalism, which is re-reverted as soon as it's reverted in some cases. It becomes a case of whack-a-mole, with his supporters having to work constantly to revert the vandalism his haters visit upon his entry. I think he is aware of this.

And Olbermann is a journalist, not just an anchor. He reported his own stories a long time for various sports media. He's well experienced at doing far more than anchoring. The format of his show, however, permits for only so much original reporting, with many of the stories being produced by the mothership NBC.

Ben Yates said...

Well, yeah, but that's part of the problem.

The first time I saw Olbermann I was blown the fuck away. But he's starting to layer the same pissed-off-ness over everything (or maybe I only see the viral clips?). Anger is cable's stock in trade, etc. etc.