Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The story behind the story

If you're like me, you like to read the details about news stories after the initial fuss has died down. Walking through the whole thing with a talented guide is always interesting and usually ends up helping with your own writing.

Perhaps you came across a recent story that got a bit of buzz in the mainstream media. The story was called Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages, by Julia Angwin and Geoffrey A. Fowler. It appeared in The Wall Street Journal. The bulk of the story is behind the paywall.

The gist of the story is that according to some research done as part of a doctoral thesis, Wikipedia is losing editors at a tremendous rate. That's how the story played out in most papers that carried some version of the story.

Doc Searls is one of those media guides I mentioned. In a blog post yesterday, he looked at the initial story and then dug deeper. He also went through a lengthy analysis prepared by Wikipedia itself that put the findings into context.

He winds up his piece with a bit of a personal note by telling us about his own experience as a Wikipedia editor.

It's a great read and by the end of it, I feel like I have a better idea of how the story developed and what it really means. I like that.

Who are the people who help you find the story behind the story?

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