Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Journalists Reminded To Check Their Facts, So Should We

Here is an interesting blog post from Techdirt that discusses a recent announcement by the Agence France Presse which states that "reporters can cite any online resources as long as they also refer to other reliable, independent sources to verify the facts." This includes sites like Facebook and Wikipedia.

Techdirt suggests that it is odd that such a reminder needs to be given to journalists who are supposed to "check their facts".

The same could be said about librarians. There is nothing wrong with using Wikipedia as a starting point to your search. It often refers to other sources for validation and will also let you know when a source is lacking. It also gives you a decent overview which is required before you get into the specifics. (sound familiar, World Book?)

And there is nothing wrong with using Wikipedia if no other source can be used, as long as the customer understands the unique nature of the source.

However, would I raise an eyebrow at a report, written solely from information found on Wikipedia, and not cross-checked with other sources? Yes.

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