Legitimizing Wikipedia: how U.S. national newspapers frame and use the online encyclopedia in their coverage

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LEGITIMIZING Wikipedia -- How US national newspapers frame and use the online encyclopedia in their coverage is a 2011 publication written in English by Marcus Messner, Jeff South and published in Journalism Practice.

[edit] Abstract

Within only a few years, the collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia has become one of the most popular websites in the world. At the same time, Wikipedia has become the subject of much controversy because of inaccuracies and hoaxes found in some of its entries. Journalists, therefore, have remained skeptical about the reliability and accuracy of Wikipedia’s information, despite the fact that research has consistently shown an overall high level of accuracy compared to traditional encyclopedia. This study analyzed the framing of Wikipedia and its use as a news source by five U.S. national newspapers over an eight-year period. A content analysis of 1486 Wikipedia references in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The Christian Science Monitor found that Wikipedia is framed predominantly neutral and positive, and that it is increasingly used as a news source. By framing Wikipedia as credible and accurate, the newspapers help legitimize the use of the online encyclopedia. By allowing Wikipedia to influence their news agendas as a source, the newspapers confirm the growing reliability of Wikipedia.

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