It was the perfect situation to spotlight attention on the strength -- and perhaps weakness -- of WikiPedia . . . a free online encyclopedia with entires written by thousands of volunteers worldwide . . . and any user can change a page at will. John Seigenthaler, a former editorial-page editor of the mainstream print USA Today daily, riled by a biographical posting connecting Siegenthaler with a wildly improbable -- and untrue -- allegation. Four months, Siegenthal wrote, the offending information remained only until it was finally removed. And in the end, the person who posted the untruth went public, and apologized, and Seigenthaler said he would not sue anyone, but wanted to point out the issue of whether WikiPedia can ultimately be trusted as a reference resource.
On Monday, Dec. 12, 2005 -- the day after the Seigenthaler story came to an end with the "confession" of the errant poster -- Media Giraffe Project editor Bill Densmore interviewed WikiPedia founder Jimmy Wales at the non-profit website's small St. Petersburg, Fla., office. Here are MP3 downloadable excerpts:
Download wiki_siegenthaler_responsibility.mp3 (7:26 minutes)
Download wiki_journalism_hybrid_bbc.mp3 (7:27 minutes)
Download wiki_managing_accountability_spam.mp3 (9:05 minutes)
Download wiki_good_vs_bad_cost.mp3 (3:44 minutes)
Download wiki_what_is_wikipedia.mp3 (2:20 minutes
Download wikinews_volunteer_AP.mp3 (2:15 minutes)
Download wiki_costs_sustainability.mp3 (4:55 minutes)
Download wiki_google_craig_talks.mp3 (4:46 minutes)
Download wiki_motivation_digital_divide.mp3 (4:28 minutes)
Download wiki_political_impact.mp3 (2:30 minutes)
Download wiki_surprise_no_controls_factoring.mp3 (2:32 minutes)
Download wiki-neutrality_social_concept.mp3 (3:14 minutes)
Download wiki_press_coverage.mp3 (1:46 minutes)
Free use of MP3 audio is granted with attribution to The Media Giraffe Project at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.