Talk for Article "FT: Can Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales fix the news?"

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    In “Managing the Metaphors of Change” (1993, Organizational Dynamics), Prof. Robert J. Marshak, wrote, for example:

    Metaphors of Change

    The “Fix and Maintain” imagery described above, while frequently encountered, is hardly the only metaphor of organizational change.

    We can consider three additional types of organizational change processes:

    Developmental,
    Transitional, and
    Transformational.

    Each has its own characteristics and associated change technologies: (i) Developmental change builds on the past and leads to better performance over time, e.g., better teamwork. (i) Transitional change involves a move from one state or condition to another, e.g., from manual to automated operations. (iii) Transformational change implies the transfiguration from one state of being to a fundamentally different state of being, e.g., from a regulated monopoly to a market driven competitive business.

    There is also, for example, “Exhibit 1 Metaphors of Change => Change Agents:”

    1) “Fix & Maintain” => Repair Person, Maintenance Worker, Mechanic

    2) “Build & Develop” => Trainer, Coach, Developer

    3) “Move & Relocate” => Planner, Guide, Explorer

    4) “Liberate & Recreate” => Liberator, Visionary, Creator

    Do the news need to be fixed, because they are broken? The metaphor to respond to “Emily Bell, founding director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York,” who “is sceptical of WikiTribune’s ambitions,” is very important. Is she on metaphor 3 that correspond to transition by planning or is it metaphor 4 that corresponds to transformation? The difference is between PLANS consensus and personal VISIONS.

    Please consider my post “Was the Smart Grid 2025 a transition scenario? Do we need a transformation scenario? ( https://grupomillenium.blogspot.com/2015/07/transcript-of-first-minute-of-smart.html ).”

    Please also consder a dozen tweets in whch I included John Thornhill, the last of which is from today https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&vertical=default&q=from%3Agmh_upsa%20%40johnthornhillft&src=typd

    Edited: 2018-10-22 21:12:26 By José Vanderhorst-Silverio (talk | contribs) + 276 Characters .. + 12% change.‎‎ (Note | Diff)

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    John Thornhill’s article covers many interesting aspects of collaborative journalism, and gives a fair assessment of WikiTribune (WT) as it stands today. As a community contributor I would like to highlight two aspects of collaborative journalism in the context of building up WT.

    1) Although WT proposes some novel features (e.g. open editing), it does not change the basic challenges facing a community-based online news outlet. As pointed out by Emily Bell, quoted by Thornhill, WT is not entirely a pioneer, and solutions tried elsewhere are worth implementing. By now, most major newspapers have emulated news agencies by providing online copies of their printed product. As a result, chasing or ”breaking” news is typically done by agencies with a wide network (e.g. Reuters, AFP…). Some news agencies, TV channels and newspapers manage to break news but, more importantly, to follow up with in-depth reports which sustain their reputation in the long run (e.g. BBC, The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde…). Compared with any of the above, how is WT positioned? As is the case for Wikipedia, theoretically WT has a vast potential network of community contributors in all parts of the world. But for the time being most substantial stories published in WT were drafted by the small team of journalists around the Editor, with a few exceptions of in-depth stories by community contributors. As things seem to stand today, it may still take some time before our worldwide community becomes a steday source of ”breaking news” for WT. So what can and should WT concentrate on? Essentially two things: topics of global significance (e.g. the risk of nuclear proliferation; over-fishing; the consequences of climate change; ”big news” such as the consequences Brexit or the status of Jerusalem), and topics requested by our community (e.g. Cryptocurrency; hyper-local news). Naturally, WT cannot avoid writing briefly about Flynn pleading guilty, or that a Middle Eastern head of state died, but WT should constantly ask how it can make a story more relevant by adding context and examining possible future consequences. So for a community contributor such as myself, the key to WT’s sustainable development is to add value to any topic or story it deems worthy of publication.

    2) To make the most of its potentially large and varied community, WT needs to spell out more clearly what and how community members can contribute. Today, typically the daily editorial meeting assigns stories to Staff journalists, who draft stories, conduct interviews, help one another with editorial and research duties, and provide tips to community contributors on writing correct English. But this basic division of labour may not cover the various ways in which community members do or could contribute. Take, for instance, a subject for which background knowledge and experience is a clear advantage, say about the global consequences of the North Korean missile crisis. Community members are regularly encouraged to take the initiative in proposing a topic and a draft, but to fully carry out their task they may require more than just help in spelling or editing. Perhaps WT could give the more confirmed community members a WT accreditation that would allow them to contact sources and conduct interviews. This would not mean putting them on a payroll, but would allow those qualified to actually go to the full extent of their volunteer work on behalf of WT. Reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred would also be helpful (registering for conferences, travel and accommodation on a case-by-case basis). I’d be willing to help define or refine ways to make community contributors not just an adjunct to the Staff journalists, but allow them to exploit their full potential for the benefit of WT.

    John Thornhill’s very interesting article in the Financial Times, reproduced here in WT, will surely increase public awareness about WikiTribune. It would be good to further clarify and enrich the role of community contributors before they come in droves knocking at WT’s door.

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      +1 – I miss a like button 🙂

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    “Jimmy Wales has already triggered one global information revolution. Now he is plotting a second.”

    Good on you, Jimmy!

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