altwiki

On defending the #altwiki idea

LOVE LOVE LOVE this #altwiki idea a bunch of news orgs are planning: tmblr.co/ZRhcTyEyDfRv

— Ernie Smith (@shortformernie)

January 18, 2012

@shortformernie Why do you LOVE LOVE LOVE it? Scab.

— Ron Mills (@O2ron)

January 18, 2012

@O2ron Journalism is about objectivity and engaging stories. This encourages interaction on an important issue. #SOPA

— Ernie Smith (@shortformernie)

January 18, 2012

@O2ron Big news outlets have to be objective. This allows for a balance between objectivity and informing the public.

— Ernie Smith (@shortformernie)

January 18, 2012

@O2ron It’s not a newspaper’s role to play activist, so this is common ground. Don’t like it? Don’t take part.

— Ernie Smith (@shortformernie)

January 18, 2012

One of the things that always gets me is the way that people always assume the worst intentions of mainstream media outlets, as if they’re large organizations who always think in terms of protecting their own vested interests, over the generally-more-accurate approach that it involves hundreds of people individually working for common goals. And last night, I pointed out how genius I thought the #altwiki idea was — as sort of a way for The Guardian, The Washington Post and NPR to avoid taking a formal stance on SOPA while still getting a chance to be active in the blackout off to the sidelines. I got some blowback from a few folks, but I’ll defend the approach heavily. It gets people engaged in the event (and thinking about the issues involved) without forcing the outlets to take a stance — allowing them to keep their objectivity. That’s win-win to me. — Ernie @ SFB

Has anyone used the #altwiki hashtag on Twitter? Apparently NPR and the Washington Post are teaming up on Twitter to provide research assistance during Wikipedia's blackout, you just have to tweet your question with the hashtag. Wondering how effective it is.

nhaler asked:

Re: WP, Guardian, NPR: That sounds like a tacit stance of opposition, if they haven't already declared outright support for Wikipedia's protest or protest of SOPA/PIPA in general. By posturing themselves as the supporter of a movement which 'fills in' the void Wikipedia leaves at that time, it's quite easy to present yourself as a guardian of 'free information', even though they're economically-driven multinational corporate conglomerates.

» SFB says: That’s basically it. It’s enabling the opposition without showing a side either way. That’s actually a great way of handling it, if you ask us. Remember, most traditional news orgs tend to err on the side of free speech. This and the Chris Hayes piece from the weekend are like lesson plans in objectively handling SOPA. — Ernie @ SFB

nhaler responds: Perhaps I should I have clarified that I think this positioning is fraudulent. Most media corps, with their corporate-backing and near-monopolistic hold on cable broadcast resources, are quite content with strict copyright and free speach policy. Many of them are/share the same parent companies funding these lawsuits and lobbyists who brought SOPA and PIPA here in the first place, remember. (That’s without even getting into the history of media/State subservience.)

» SFB responds: I work for the WaPo company, remember (though the blog is independent). It’s not as bad as you think it is; freedom of speech is respected by newspapers. They built their names on it so they tend to respect it. Not every media org owns a movie studio. And the ones involved in altwiki don’t have such corporate conflicts. Either way, point noted. — Ernie @ SFB