Critical issues presentations/Mainstream media as a reliable source in Wikipedia

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Submission no. 71
Title of the submission

Mainstream media as a reliable source in Wikipedia

Author of the submission
  • Fernando Otero
Country of origin




  • mainstream
  • media
  • reliable
  • source
  • wikipedia

So far, Wikipedia has a lot of articles built partially or totally from mainstream media sources. It is generally accepted within the community that these sources are reliable. Indeed, they are for a wide array of topics and events. However, in certain cases mainstream media may not reflect what is expected from a truly reliable, independent source.

On the other hand, there are alternative sources of information, which are often tagged as being too biased, show an extreme point of view or even act like yellow journalism. And in many cases poorly written and structured. Alternative media also lack the popularity and the prestige that the traditional media have (some of them founded more than a century ago). In some cases, these alternative media work over a simple blogging platform like Wordpress or Blogger. As a direct result, alternative sources remain largely ignored as valid references for editing Wikipedia articles.

Mainstream media have a stronger experience in journalism and there are a lot of resources behind them. But they can be as much biased as the alternative media, if not more. Sophisticated methods are employed to produce content that seems unbiased to the average reader. Even the way that is chosen to include or exclude certain information, may represent a very subtle bias. The issue of journalism ethics also plays an important role in this context.

As web-based sources are used extensively in Wikipedia, we will analyze them in this presentation. We will discuss a few examples of how some recent events in Latin America are treated by local news organizations, how they are reflected internationally and how they finally appear on the encyclopedia, and we will focus especially on the Spanish and English Wikipedia.


Not accepted