Tuesday, June 21, 2005

LA Times 'wikitorial' gives editors red faces

LA Times 'wikitorial' gives editors red faces: "Online: Interactive editorial backfires for broadsheet."

The Generation Gap extends only as far as understanding. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, allows users to alter facts and input information based, somewhat, on the Honor System that most of us scoff at, but it's a monitored system. What I know of Wikipedia, I've learned from experience and this Wired article. The fact remains...Fact

Newspapers around the nation and globe are experimenting with online technologies to bring back their audiences. Some are proving successful. This experiment was never meant to be. An Editorial is the opinion of the writer or the paper, it's the voice-of-God in Print Journalism - an individual expounding on random local, national, and global Hot-topic issues, in attempt to use his/her voice to speak for the audience he/she writes for. Maybe it is as arrogent as it sounds.

Or, maybe it's not. The writer never claims to have omnipotent knowledge of the subject, only experience, possibly, of the dealing with or understanding the subject of the piece and then clarifies that it is his/her own opinion...not fact.

The LA Times looked at the technology from the wrong angle. Allow the readers to comment, in real-time or even with mild supervision to prevent offensive language, on the editorial, but allowing them to alter and re-create the piece removes the editorialist completely, thus removing his/her existence by taking away his/her voice or opinion.

I definately support newspaper internet "communities" and live feedback/commentary on stories and opinions, but no one has the right to step on someone else's existence. Opinion, moreso than fact, is malleable but only for the individual that holds the opinion.


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