Wikipedia versus Drudge Weekly #8

Georgetown University Professor Garrett Graff proclaimed last week that “Wikipedia is the best source of current information.” This was shocking news. As an avid fan of the Drudge Report, a Web Site which links to major news stories from the United States and international mainstream media, I decided to find out if this were true, to compare the credibility of Wikipedia to Drudge, particularly when it comes to breaking news?

To begin the comparison, I checked the coverage of the April 5, 2010, West Virginia mine explosion and was immediately surprised that Wikipedia had an extensive amount of information on this Massey Energy Disaster. Wikipedia provided information on the explosion, rescue, safety violations and allegations of corruption, reactions and references without bylines of reporters or legitimate news organizations.

Drudge, on the other hand, posted three articles from two newspapers and one online Web site.  One article by three reporters ran in the Charleston, West Virginia Gazette newspaper.  Drudge also linked to The Wall Street Journal which had a major feature, cand a Reuter’s wire service story was posted on Yahoo.com

 Both Wikipedia and Drudge had an exhaustive amount of information on this disaster. As far as I could tell both had reliable information but Wikipedia had no journalist’s bylines on its writings. You had to take it at face value. Drudge information was bylined in every media source.

Dan Gillmor, a noted American technology writer, who teaches and writes about the future of journalism, believes in citizen journalists and democratization of the media.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, said at a media summit in the United Kingdom last month professional journalists face change due to citizen journalism but “Everyone tells jokes but we still have professional comedians.”
Wales says that” Wikipedia has an advantage over news organizations because it tells the whole story, updated, whereas news organizations tell of the latest developments. People want broader summaries and context to their news. His key quote on what newspapers do: ‘Selling stale bread while giving fresh bread away free.”

Thirty years ago when breaking news occurred we turned on the radio to find out the latest updates. Today, we immediately click on the internet and Drudge. For most people, Wikipedia still has some catching up to do.

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