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Friday, August 05, 2005

Free everything!: the Wikimedia philosophy

You're not going to like this, but your readers might. According to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales' keynote speech at the First International Wikimania conference, the ethos of the rapidly growing Wiki community is 'free.' Wales listed ten challenges for the 'free culture movement' from 'Free the encyclopedia' to 'Free the TV listings.' Although he did not list 'Free the news' as one of the ten points, Wikinews, launched last December, combined with the free encyclopedia, Wikipedia, have immediate consequences for newspapers currently revamping their business models to deal with the digital era. Wikinews still does not pose a serious threat to newspaper organizations as many of the articles posted are summaries of what Wiki contributors read in newspapers. But such Wiki projects have the potential to infringe on a disputed aspect of newspaper websites; archives. Many papers have been toying with charging for their online archives and developing different packages to offer to their readers. Wikis could theoretically render these projects null and void even before they get off the ground as Wiki articles, comprehensive collective intelligence accounts of world facts and occurrences, include various opinions, both sides of a story taken from different journals, and even many quotes found in newspaper articles... for free, forever. The permanence of Wikis as well as blogs should make newspapers reconsider charging readers for their archives. They may be better off adapting a method of topic-specific, time relevant advertising that would appear on an archived article page.

Posted by john burke on August 5, 2005 at 03:17 PM | Permalink


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Indeed - in fact the value of Wikinews being a free archive was recognized very early on.

Posted by: Dan100 at Sep 2, 2005 1:30:45 PM