Award and press citations

Even without London events, Wikipedia draws media coverage, award

After the bombings that shook London last Thursday, much of the media focus naturally turned to those events, and to the extent that the subject of Wikipedia came up it was often in relation to its coverage of the bombings (see related story). However, Wikipedia was also featured independently in several news stories, ranging from national newspapers to specialty publications, and the site won an award from one magazine.

In The Globe and Mail on Friday, Ivor Tossell wrote a review of Wikipedia entitled "By, of, for the people". The article briefly mentioned both positive and negative aspects of Wikipedia, describing its growth as "a fascinating process to watch, like a giant human ant farm." The reporter noted the recent buzz of activity surrounding the Live 8 concerts by relating that he had gone to the article about Neil Young and found that his performance was not mentioned; however, by the time he tried to edit the page ten seconds later and add the information, he discovered that someone else had beaten him to it.

Last week, Linux Journal awarded its "Editors' Choice Awards 2005: Nontechnical or Community Web Site" to the Wikimedia Foundation for the Wikipedia project. Points singled out for praise included its size ("1.5 million articles and editions in 195 languages") and the fact that Wikipedia is not "cluttered up with flaming, drivel and spam like other on-line fora" (although some people might beg to differ; perhaps the description depends on whether one focuses on the encyclopedia, or also considers talk pages and the mailing lists).

Wikipedia, births, and deaths

Science News managed to tie Wikipedia into the subject of baby names, without actually mentioning any Wikipedia content related to such names. The article was originally about Name Voyager, a program that visually represents the popularity of various baby names in the United States over time, developed by the wife-and-husband team of Laura and Martin Wattenberg.

An IBM researcher, Martin had previously, along with Fernanda B. Viégas at MIT, developed a "history flow" technique for visualizing the development of Wikipedia articles. The reporter used this opportunity to segue into a discussion of their research, which took up nearly as much space as the original topic. Points noted include the swiftness of responses to vandalism and the persistence of quality text.

Also, Carl Bialik of the Wall Street Journal responded to reader questions about his earlier article noting Wikipedia's erroneous casualty figure for the Korean War (see archived story). In response to the question of why he reported on the error instead of changing it, Bialik said, "I didn't correct the entry myself because I thought it inappropriate for me to be writing about the story and also making it." He also noted that the correction had been made very quickly, and that the article had stayed correct since.


CNN/SI turned to Wikipedia to identify the name of the theme music for The NBA on NBC, which was "Roundball Rock" [1]. The Rutland Herald cited Wikipedia about the debate over whether public broadcasting in the US is biased [2]. Reporting on an open source security flaw, ZDNet quoted Wikipedia on zlib's status as "something of a de facto standard" [3]. Etymology questions brought in the Provo Daily Herald, for the history of weblogs [4], and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, for the phrase melting pot [5]. And the Bangor Daily News quoted Wikipedia's description of The Simpsons character police chief Wiggum [6].

+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.
No comments yet. Yours could be the first!


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0