Journalists pride ourselves in being accurate and on being current with the latest news. So let’s update our inaccurate views of Wikipedia.
A 10,000 Words post by Mark S. Luckie today offers lots of good advice for reporters on pleasing their editors, including this piece:
Fact-check your stories. Any editor worth their salt will inevitably ask where certain information came from. Be ready for this with explicit answers and a list of your sources. And for the love of all things holy, don’t say Wikipedia.
I heartily endorse the advice to fact-check stories, and I agree that Wikipedia alone is not a sufficient source. But it’s way past time for journalists (and academics, for that matter) to get beyond our arrogant dismissal of Wikipedia and include it in our box of imperfect tools for verifying facts. In fact, if Wikipedia has an entry on a topic you’re writing about, it would be an excellent first place for a journalist to start checking facts. (more…)