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GLIN==> Wiki revolution reaches Great Lakes, MSU

Submitted by Dave Poulson <poulson@msu.edu>

Wiki revolution reaches Great Lakes, MSU

Jan. 31, 2007

EAST LANSING, Mich. - In a revolutionary attempt to encourage grassroots journalism, Michigan State University students have launched a project that helps citizens, scientists, industry leaders, students, policy makers and others report on the Great Lakes story.

The Web site (www.greatlakeswiki.org) lets those who know the lakes best report on their ecology, pollution, commerce, culture, policy, recreation, music and more. Using the same technology as that of the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia, they can report on issues in a way that integrates them with each other - much like what happens in the real world.

"The Great Lakes represent a complex story often incompletely told or ignored by mainstream media," said Dave Poulson, associate director of MSU's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. "The story requires many authors with diverse views, intimate knowledge and a passionate stake in nearly 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water."

Students designed the project and gathered interviews, information, videos and images to provide a template. It is one of 10 citizen journalism projects nationwide to receive start-up funding last year from J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism (www.j-lab.org).

"Mainstream reporters struggle to compete with the 'wisdom of crowds'

because they can't

possibly have the collective knowledge, energy and motivation of their diverse and numerous readers," said Cliff Lampe, co-leader of the effort and an assistant professor in MSU's Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media department. "That's why Wikis work."

Anyone can easily post headlines linked to stories they've written or to other user-created content - images, videos, audio clips, charts, other stories. The site at www.greatlakeswiki.org provides help files to get users started.

The project is well-suited for citizens hoping to draw attention to particular lakes, streams and other natural resources within the region. MSU plans workshops to help groups use the technology for creative story-telling. Groups or individuals interested in attending, hosting or organizing such workshops should contact Cliff Lampe at lampecli@msu.edu.

Press Contact: Dave Poulson, Associate Director, Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, 517-432-5417, poulson@msu.edu

Press Contact: Cliff Lampe, Assistant Professor, Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media, 517-432-1334, lampecli@msu.edu


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