Newsroom Wikis

Stretching to embrace new ideas that we can bring back to our organizations is the heart of a conference like SLA. Members of the News Division heard a stimulating group of presenters on Monday who talked about their implementations of wikis within the newsroom. I’ve participated in a wiki but only briefly for information sharing. Probably 75 percent of the audience knew about wikis but only a few use the technology on a regular basis. The speakers opened many eyes to the possibilities for recording research results, timelines, linking to official documents, documenting tasks and procedures, providing catalog information, and much more.

Several of the presenters said their organizations had chosen to use the free MediaWiki software (http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/mediawiki). While they have encountered reluctance to edit by some staffers, most said the implementation was fairly easy and fast and the applications have proven to be very useful. Susan Ebbs of the Raleigh News & Observer said they continue to use blogs when having a single voice (with a place for comments) is required. A wiki is good for applications with “many voices.” They still have a lot of content on the intranet, with links to the wiki.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief
Information Today, Inc.
www.infotoday.com

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