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LocalWiki can provide more depth to your reporting
LocalWiki amplifies and aids the work of local journalists. It can be used for background research, be linked to for providing more context than what would be appropriate in a news story, allow community members to contribute in creating and updating the story, and allow realtime documentation of a story in a distributed, collaborative, and open way.
Examples of LocalWiki for documenting news stories
- Community members created in-depth documentation of the controversial UC Davis police response to Occupy UC Davis, including broad coverage of the infamous pepperspray incident. Research done in this article was used as part of evidence during a California Supreme Court hearing on the incident.
- As a result of multiple pedestrian railroad deaths, residents proposed a new fence bordering the tracks. The proposal was without controversy, and residents documented the entire timeline of proposals, counter-proposals, city hall meetings and media via the article Olive Drive Railroad Fence.
- Local privacy advocates in Oakland created the most in-depth online repository of information on the Domain Awareness Center, a proposed surveillance data aggregation hub. Their work was pushed out through an aggressive social media campaign, which lead to a surge of city council attendees, the participation of legal observers from the ACLU and the EFF, and a New York Times articles referencing the Oakland Wiki article.
How you can use LocalWiki as a journalist
Open Reporter's Notebook
A LocalWiki site can act as a kind of "open notebook" that is part of the reporter's information gathering process:
- Get a story idea, create a page on the wiki with basic info.
- Write an initial blog post about the topic, and promote the wiki page through social media, main website, etc., asking for people to add what they know to the wiki page.
- Take notes on the wiki page. Cite sources and organize/edit contributions from others.
- If appropriate, create entries for topics relating to the story (for example, for a story about a building project, you can create an entry about the building project itself, but also create entries for the developer and the key people/departments in city hall who are working on it (like so: http://oaklandwiki.org/Brooklyn_Basin, http://oaklandwiki.org/Oakland_Army_Base_Project)
Create a blog post / feature article based in part on the research added to the wiki page.
- Reference the wiki page and it's contributors in a bio thing at the end of the story.
- Add links to related blog posts on the wiki page.
- "Using SeattleWiki as an "open notebook" for news"
(note that this doesn't work for extremely sensitive content, but most content would be fine for this approach)
This is sorta like what Wired did with their Lord of the Files story where it was written collaboratively on GitHub: https://github.com/WiredEnterprise/Lord-of-the-Files
Except with this approach the wiki page is a little more raw, and can have a life of its own after the blog finishes covering the topic.