Heather,

Thanks for a fascinating read.  You managed to capture the crazy, chaotic, 
collaborative world we sometimes inhabit, especially during events like the 
Egyptian Revolution.  In all, it was a truly fascinating and consuming event to 
be a part of, and it got me briefly hooked on the rush of working articles on 
'current events', an area I've many editors avoid due to the flood of attention 
they receive and the challenge of finding seasoned secondary sources.  Working 
on that article with EgyptianLiberal and Lihaas and Abrahzame and SilverSeren 
and others truly felt like we were relaying messages to the rest of the world 
as events unfolded.  That might be slightly grandiose but I think it's not that 
far off given how often the Wikipedia article was used as a go-to source for 
information about what was happening.

I'm very much interested by your page 50 chart on using social media as primary 
and secondary sources, respectively.  The notion that--a re-tweet by a 
journalist, a photo of a political cartoon in a rally, or amateur video footage 
on NYTimes website--will probably rub many editors the wrong way.  What is 
lacking in the mere republishing of that type of primary content is an 
indication that it has been vetted, fact-checked, or otherwise investigated 
through the typical channels which work towards ensuring reliable media 
reports.  If a journalist retweets a message from the ground, did he confirm 
that the original poster was where and who he said he was (if we know either of 
those details).  Perhaps the retweeter is just acting in that sense as only an 
amplifier rather than a journalist.  The picture of a political cartoon in a 
rally could be considered a secondary source, but for what exactly?  That the 
cartoon was present in at least one protest?
  A true secondary source would be able to make a broader claim that, for 
example, a particular photo was an 'iconic' image of the protests.  Merely 
capturing one instance does not provide the benefits that we expect from 
secondary sources, namely fact-checking, and perspective.  I think the same 
concerns would apply to an NYTimes republishing of an amateur video.  
Mainstream news media wants to social these days, yet I do not think they have 
yet solved the puzzle of what their role should be with respect to ireports, 
tweets, on-the-ground cellphone footage, etc.

Last, I just want to acknowledge the particular vulnerability one feels from 
having an ethnographer evaluate their heat-of-the-moment comments.  You were 
indeed fair, but even with Wikipedia's wide-open transparency, it's a little 
uncomfortable to be the *subject* of the reports rather than the one who 
summarizes them ;)

Cheers,
 
Jake Orlowitz
Wikipedia editor: Ocaasi
http://enwp.org/User:Ocaasi
wikioca...@yahoo.com
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