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Preview: Comments on: Google News experimenting with links to Wikipedia on its homepage

Comments on: Google News experimenting with links to Wikipedia on its homepage

Last Build Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2017 20:40:00 -0500


By: MichaelJ

Wed, 10 Jun 2009 12:59:47 +0000

This morning I read that K -12 textbooks have been eliminated in California. If a newspaper adopted this approach - the story plus the hyperlinked web content and delivered the results in printed newspaper format I think they would have a good shot at moving into the vacuum created by the disappearance of textbooks in public education. The only changes necessary would be to edit according to educational standards instead of "the breaking news." I would think it could be easily supported with ads from public health, civic organizations and government messaging.

By: Michael D

Wed, 10 Jun 2009 04:47:04 +0000

What I find interesting is the placement of those Wikipedia links on the news homepage. When they 1st appeared early Saturday, there was a link on nearly every major homepage story (as seen in Grays screen shot). It's a game changer, as a traditional media company may publish hundreds of articles related to a single topic, just to stay atop the cluster of news. All the while, the wikipedia link remains seemingly static, with an unchanging url that prominently sticks out amongst other results.

By: Mesays

Wed, 10 Jun 2009 00:39:39 +0000

Yes, that's the strength of Wikipedia in news reporting: it has the advantages of a newspaper and of an encyclopedia: it provides updated information and background, and there is one page, updated as information flows in, contrary to a multitude of bits that get outdated too fast. But it doesn't, and cannot, replace classic news sources, because they are still - except maybe in exceptional cases like the Hudson landing - the first to report newsworthy events and get attention. Wikipedia entries themselves are built and rely on those, it's also by referring to them that information becomes credible. And Wikipedia doesn't provide personal analysis, which is still heavily popular, it's done by journalists and bloggers. And about reliability - Wikipedia articles that are in the news are the less susceptible to contain inaccuracies and other problems, because they are heavily monitored by experienced users. Inaccuracies and the like are generally in articles that don't get much attention, but in articles related to 'current events', they are, when introduced, quickly spotted and reverted - same for vandalism but it's even faster because we have automatic ways to detect it. Experienced users will also make sure that statements are backed up by reliably sourced and cite them, giving credibility.

By: Zachary M. Seward

Tue, 09 Jun 2009 20:06:35 +0000

I'm sure I'm sure, Frymaster, but my point isn't really about Wikipedia, and newspapers could absolutely fit in here. Google News is linking to Wikipedia articles because Wikipedia does the best job right now at providing a self-contained page that summarizes a single topic while constantly integrating new developments. (That may have something to do with the crowdsourced nature of Wikipedia, but I think it's beside the point.) There's no reason a news organization couldn't do something similar, and they're certainly trying. In the case of Air France Flight 447, I do think that Wikipedia has the best single page on the crash, but the Times has a pretty good topic page, too. And do check out Columbia Tomorrow, the site I mentioned at the end. Acting more like Wikipedia, in this specific sense, would not only be better journalism, I think, but also more popular with readers and friendlier to search engines. That's hardly a nail in the coffin. And there's also an element of efficiency to consider: What if the Nieman Journalism Lab already had a topic page devoted to the Wikipedia model of storytelling? I would only have to write the main thrust of this post — about how this model is better than discrete articles — once, maybe a few months ago when we first touched on this topic. Then today I could have skipped the b-matter, written a graf or two with my new reporting, and linked to the topic page. There, I would add a sentence or two about this Google News experiment somewhere in the middle of the larger topic page, wherever it fits in context. Joey, I'm jealous. Let me know if you see anything interesting. And that's a good point, David. I don't know much about why Wikinews hasn't gained much popularity, but it could certainly achieve the same result. So could the Houston Chronicle. Google News should link to wherever readers are best served. —Zach

By: David Gerard

Tue, 09 Jun 2009 19:56:35 +0000

It's a pity that Wikipedia's news-focused sibling site Wikinews can't get more publicity this way too. Wikipedia articles usually contain links to relevant Wikinews articles, but that's an extra link away from Google News.

By: Joey Baker

Tue, 09 Jun 2009 19:43:14 +0000

Huh. I'm one of the users that gets wikipedia links. I wonder what the qualifications are? @Frymaster – yes. Kinda sad, but the current newspaper model doesn't fit in this new paradigm. That's not to say pro journalists don't fit – just that the newspaper newsroom doesn't. “The atomic unit of consumption for existing media is almost always disrupted by emerging media.”

By: Frymaster

Tue, 09 Jun 2009 19:21:23 +0000

Um, are you sure you want more like this? Another way to look at this development is as another nail in the coffin. Crowd-sourced major stories, hyper-local aggregation of the little stuff... where do newspapers fit in? Answer: nowhere.