On Wednesday July 10th at the National Press Club, in collaboration with J-Lab, the Knight Foundation presented eight awards for excellence in media innovation. Center for Social Media staffers were awed by the hard work, creativity and innovation of the winners. Wikiscanner, which won the top award of $10,000, was launched in 2007 and allows users to review edits made on Wikipedia. The information available on Wikiscanner is vast, but if you're simply curious to check out the "most salacious edits" you can do that. Wikiscanner users who find strange edits are encouraged to write an article about it and submit it to the site. Visitors then vote the article up or down. The more "salacious" the article, the higher it gets put on the list. Top articles include, "Tulsa church edits, 'Origin of Species' " and "Diebold about Diebold." If you're on your own fact-finding mission, you can "reveal your victims" quite easily. This term, I imagine, is used to highlight the massive potential of the site to expose Wikipedia editors who have less than honest intentions. By catching their edits, editors become victims of wikiscanner's research. Wikiscanner requires no sign up or registration. Just type in the organization or Wikipedia page in question and "Wikipedia edits Ahoy!" you've got your "victim" in the palm of your hand.
During lunch, Bill Kling from American Public Radio presented his thoughts on the day. He summarized the evolution of media over the past decade, calling for, "real informed engagement." He warned attendees to be careful not to lose sight of the need for real in-depth analysis and accuracy. While new media allow us an opportunity to interact on levels never before imagined, it is crucial to fact check. Striking this delicate balance is precisely what led Wikiscanner to the top of the pack.
Politifact, Ushahidi, and JDLand won $2,000 Special Distinction Awards and Des Moines Tornado Coverage, CNN iReport, MapLIGHT.org and Living Loving HIV won honorable mentions. For more information on all of the winners, visit J-Lab.
The awards are just one of the many ways that J-Lab supports citizen media makers in creating public media for open platforms. The Knight Citizen News Network provides learning modules on a range of topics, including one on Tools for Citizen Journalists written by American University's Wendell Cochran and Amy Eisman. J-Lab just moved to American University's School of Communication, so we're looking forward to working more closely with them.