the transition to digital journalism
Perhaps the ultimate form of user generated content is the wiki.
Wiki software was developed to promote collaboration in producing content, relying on the collective wisdom of the masses rather than the specialized knowledge of a limited group of experts.
It became hugely popular with the creation of the expansive wikipedia online encyclopedia, which now dwarfs traditional encyclopedias like Britannica in the amount of content it contains. Whether wikipedia is more credible than Britannica remains a subject of continuing analysis and debate. See the Guardian's research study, "Can You Trust Wikipedia," and a study by Nature magazine.
News organization experiments with wikis have been very tentative thus far. Part of the reason was the disastrous experience the Los Angeles Times had when it set up a wiki in 2005 to collectively write editorials. The wiki was inundated with obscene photos and other inappropriate content and shut down.
Other news media sponsored wikis include:
- Forbes magazine set up a wiki to get people to create organization charts on companies. But little content has been contributed to the wiki.
- The Toronto Globe and Mail is experimenting with using a wiki to get people to contribute their ideas about public policy issues in Canada, such as the federal budget.