Vr3: Reputation, Relationships, Results

Wikipedia and PR – The beat goes on

At a conference this past week of IPREX, Jay Walsh, head of communications for the Wikimedia Foundation (this is Wikipedia), shared insights on February’s SOPA/PIPA blackout. Fascinating discussion.

There’s not much love between PR pros and Wikipedia to begin with, so kudos to Walsh for agreeing to speak. The longstanding spat centers around Wikipedia’s “Bright Line” rule which makes it extremely difficult (to be generous) for PR professionals to correct/edit copy – to help protect their clients’ reputation – on the wiki’s pages. 

Let’s call it an irritated and open sore. That was interesting enough.

Now comes a study by Marcia DiStaso, PhD, published in the PR Journal


Read it yourself, but her research results from interviews with 1,284 PR pros offers these tasty Wikipedia tidbits:

  • 60% of the Wikipedia articles for respondents who were familiar with their company or recent client’s article contained factual errors.
  • When the talk pages were used to request edits, it was found to typically take days for a response and 24% never received one.
  • Most of the public relations/communication professionals in this study were unaware of the (“Bright Line”) rule and almost half of those who were familiar with it did not understand what it meant to them.

So, the beat goes on. But please be sure to read this and understand that, as valuable and useful Wikipedia is, its accuracy cannot and should not be assumed.

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