The anticipation of writing for Wikipedia was giving me anxiety. Wikipedia is viewed worldwide and monitored for accuracy. At first, I found the challenge overwhelming whenever I would think about it. Thankfully my professor and partners from Wikipedia made helpful step by step videos which is on You Tube to help hold my hand through the process. Here is my journey of making my first draft article for a newspaper with no historical account for Wikipedia.
The Editing Wikipedia Online Training modules were very informative and broke everything down into sections. First, I enrolled in the course. I completed the assigned exercise modules. I used the Dashboard with a timeline for each week—the essentials, evaluating articles, editing, adding images, and peer reviews. My favorite thing was learning about my space “Sandbox.”The format was to learn from start to finish how to write an article for Wikipedia. Another element I learned was the Wiki markup. It’s like a new language to me. Making my signature from four tildes (~~~~) and sending messages to Wikipedian editors on the talk pages was terrific. I recommend anyone who has never written, edited or is making a listing for Wikipedia to train. It is excellent.
Picking a newspaper – “News on Wiki” listed Washington state newspapers publications that need research to create articles about preserving them in history. Or reroute the info to the newspaper, which may have gotten misplaced in the past through mergers—God Bless “News on Wiki. ” I found using their list made this endeavor less overwhelming. I felt like I had a purposeful topic to research that had very little to go on initially. I was not editing and critiquing someone else’s hard work. I picked the Daily Sun News located in Sunnyside, Wa. I felt a sense of accomplishment in finding little bits of information to add to the draft article. For example, I found dates, past owners’ names, and awards their staff members received. Wikipedia does not use first source information, so no original work or websites. It would take many hours to find the name or location of the newspaper.
Researching-The newspaper I was investigating was the Daily Sun News in Sunnyside, Wa. I found the links with the listed newspapers very helpful—attempting this for the first time, I did not know what to expect. The first link was Wiki; the Wiki link provides the data if an article already started. This data validates the existence of the newspaper. Next, I used Mondo. Mondo Times is a bank of newspaper information. I was able to find dates and locations with this link. The Library of Congress (LOC) is the best to use for making the newspaper notable. To be in the LOC recognizes that the paper was legitimate. I also was able to find some data from the Arizona State University Library. The ASU library had ProQuest. I was able to locate data that the Daily Sun News had an event calendar for local theatre shows. The paper would have the announcement and made the tickets available for pick up at their location. The books link (google.com) I found the DSN and Sunnyside Museum collaborated and made a book A Pictorial History of Sunnyside Washington.
The Draft- Starting the draft was a little rocky for me. I missed using the search bar to type in “News on Wiki” and just began from the regular draft link. The problem with this is that the Wikipedia partners working with our class would not see my draft. Now I feel like my draft is open for the regular editors to view, and they would delete my work before I knew what I was doing. After about 8 hours of research, now comes the challenge of having a neutral perspective, no original work, reliable sources, without plagiarism or conflict of interest. The article must be fact-based; I am not writing to persuade. I am instructed to use simplistic language but have an orderly tone. A tall order, but this is what I ended up with below.
What I learned about Wikipedia was terrific. Before this assignment, I never really thought about where the information from Wikipedia originated. I would just use the site to gather data. I find it interesting while earning my first degree at UOP. My professors frowned if I used Wikipedia for my research. Times have changed. Reading about its history and walking through the training has given me more respect for Wikipedia participants and the editors. The participants spend many hours looking for information that is spread out all over the place. They reroute, so it belongs to the correct subject of their research. The editors play a vital role too. They are the gatekeepers and make sure that the information is notable and from reliable sources.
Media Literacy- Learning digital media literacy before attempting writing for Wikipedia was so helpful. It’s a toolbox that fights misinformation. Using fact-checking sites is a tool to make sure the sources are credible. Being skeptical of information is a media literacy strategy. It requires questioning tactics, the who, what, when, and why of your research. Looking for the same subject in other sites, books, articles verifies credibility. Finding opposing views helps balance the bias. All these tools help prevent spreading misinformation in media creation.
The “News on Wiki” Campaign showed me the principles of Wikipedia. It is a combination of impartial data, everyone is welcome to contribute as long as there is respect for each other, and the guidelines are in practice. The careful gatekeeping of the editors ensure data is well researched and come from reputable sources. It makes Wikipedia one of the most accurate social media sources. I feel so prevailed to have had the opportunity to contribute and participate in making history available to the world.