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Wikipedia Improves Social Layer With WikiLove

Love what a user is doing on Wikipedia?

As early as tomorrow, you’ll be able to spread that love much more easily.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, announced in a blog post last week that it was testing WikiLove, a new button that simplifies the process sending of “barnstars” and other accolades. Previously, sending praise on Wikipedia required knowing some basic code — something that is not obvious to new users.

As the blog post explains:

WikiLove is a simple experiment in appreciation. It makes it easy and fun to send barnstars or whimsical messages of appreciation to other users. The tool was first built by Wikimedia Foundation developer and Wikimedian Ryan Kaldari as a small gadget, and the new editor engagement team at the Wikimedia Foundation has developed it into a full feature over the last few weeks.

A “heart” button will appear when you visit a Wikipedia user page:




On clicking that button, a menu will appear with the numerous accolades you can send:








You can test WikiLove now by heading over to Wikipedia’s prototype site and creating an account. If all goes well, the new feature will be pushed tomorrow to the live site. Those not wanting “love” will be able to opt out of this feature.

Wikipedia’s longstanding award system is an early example of social gamification, a topic my colleague Jessica Roy wrote about back in March. A number of news websites — a major example — have begun to reward their users for good comments. This WikiLove feature will make it easier for users to do the same, and will likely increase social engagement on the popular, user-generated encyclopedia.

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Tool of the Day: Encyclo


Among the bevy of online news sites, mobile applications, and hyperlocal mashup aggregators, it can be pretty confusing to determine the context of all these tools. Nieman Journalism Lab’s exciting new project seeks to pull these tools together into a resource they call Encyclo.

Think of Encyclo as a wiki-style compilation of the publications and businesses which are driving the evolution of journalism. There are newspapers, magazines, broadcast news organizations, wire services, tech companies, and much more. There are currently over 200 sources in Encyclo, and each entry page includes key links to the organization’s website or social media presences, a few paragraphs describing the organization, and an aggregation of coverage from Nieman Lab and from around the web via Mediagazer.

Users can share entry pages via Facebook or Twitter, and mark them for later consumption using Instapaper. Since this is a new project from Nieman Journalism Lab, users are welcome to contribute to the site and add new entries for their organizations, and give up dates on current entries. Aside from being a great tool for discovering what news organizations are making waves online. While the service has only been online for a few weeks, some are seeing it as a great resource to use for journalism classes.

Visit Encyclo today at

5 Reasons you should create a wiki now

The wiki may be the most flexible, yet underrated tool in modern newsrooms. A collaborative system for sharing news and information has an infinite number of uses, yet many fail to use wikis in a journalism context. No more excuses. Here are a few reasons you should create a wiki right now:

1. Share contacts

Gone are the days of the bulky Rolodex or the dusty clip files. The best way to keep track of sources is to create a wiki that anyone in the newsroom can access. The wiki can store simple information such as phone numbers or email addresses, but also can be a place to collect notes on each individual: what they know, who interviewed them before, what time they are usually available, etc. It’s either that or continue to get calls at 4 a.m. asking for your source’s telephone number.

2. Gather information from your audience

Because a reporter never knows everything about a subject, chances are there is a reader or viewer who knows something that could greatly enhance a story. Public wikis are a great way to aggregate information from the people who know the subject matter best and is perhaps the best use of a wiki in today’s modern era of journalism.

For example, The Globe and Mail uses its Public Policy Wiki to get suggestions from readers about public policy issues. Citizens of North East England can use Wiki North East, hosted by ncjMedia, to share news on the area.

Wikis don’t have to solely serve the newsgathering process either. Entertainment Weekly has its own Harry Potter and Heroes wikis where users can share details about the entertainment franchises.

3. Keep track of important dates

Never miss an important city council meeting or press conference when you add the event to a newsroom-wide wiki. A calendar wiki can also be used to remember recurring events such as festivals and holidays or to catalog awareness months such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month or International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Of course, a wiki isn’t the only way to keep track of upcoming events. Consider using collaborative calendar tools like Google Calendar.

4. Share multimedia tools and tutorials

Many news organizations are training their staff in the latest multimedia techniques, but it’s usually a one-shot deal. Reporters are then left to fend for themselves armed only with their notes. A wiki is a great one-stop destination for sharing notes on multimedia tutorials as well as general reporting tips.

If your newsroom doesn’t have such a collaborative resource, try the Digital Research Tools Wiki, The Society for News Design’s Tools for News and the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies’ Directory of Learning Tools. All of the aforementioned wikis are publicly available and list tools that journalists can use to enhance the presentation of news online.

5. Build the big story

You know the story: the one that requires months of research and several staff reporters to create. Make life easier by sharing notes and details in one place that those involved can access at any time. A wiki can cut down on overlap and show everyone what has been done and what is left to do.

Now that you know why you should create a wiki, here’s how to create one. Like most online technologies there are a number of free services for creating wikis. Some of the popular online solutions include PBWiki, WetPaint and Wikispaces. Those who wish to host a wiki on their own server should try MediaWiki (a comprehensive tutorial can be found here).

For more ways to create your own wiki, check out Mashable’s list of wiki solutions. If you’re still debating whether to create a wiki for your newsroom, read this post by Paul Bradshaw that weighs the pros and cons of creating a wiki.

Thanks to @robroc, @jenconnic, @StevenWalling and @starshine_diva for their help in creating this post.

15 Ways to follow the 2008 election online

The power of the net to provide more innovative political coverage than what is possible in traditional forms of media has never been more evidenced than in this political season. Major news organizations and citizen journalists alike have harnessed the power of the web to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the US presidential election than has ever been possible. Here are some of the best ways to follow the political landscape online:

1. perspctv

If there weren’t 14 other sites on this list then perspctv would be the one stop for any election news seeker. The site culls the latest news, blog posts and tweets and provides insightful charts and maps as well as an embeddable widget for keeping track of it all.

2. Patchwork Nation

We know the candidates are campaigning all over the country, but who are they campaigning in front of? The Christian Science Monitor has the answer. The site’s analysis shows both Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama spent a good chunk of their time in wealthy suburbs and big cities.

3. Election ’08 Twitter Chatter

Everyone knows Twitter is abuzz with political views, skews and insights, including the observations of Twitter stars FakeSarahPalin and CNN’s Rick Sanchez. Twitter Chatter is one way to wrangle these conversations as well as to see on a map where they are coming from.

4. is the dream of any political statistics hound. The site has the latest polls, the latest news, the latest charts, graphs, statistics, hypotheticals…the latest everything. It’s like a political rabbit hole…check it out only if you have time to spare.

5. Map of 2008 Presidential Contributions

“Show me the money!” Okay it’s 2008, not 1996, but if you’re curious to know where the campaign money is coming from, Political Base has you covered with a well-designed Google map as well as a list of big name contributors and a handy search form.

6. Tube the Vote!

Tube the Vote strives to provide a balanced view of issues that are affecting this year’s presidential election by scouring the web for video, blog posts, Flickr photos and more that celebrate or repudiate either side.

7. Candidates’ life journeys

Get to know the presidential and vice presidential candidates a little better by following the milestones of their lives on a Google Map. Anyone can follow the journey of John McCain, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin or Joe Biden.

8. PolitiFact’s The Attack Files

Voters tired of the spin and searching for the truth will appreciate PolitiFact’s analysis of recent campaign assertions. Was Sen. Obama referring to Sarah Palin when he mentioned “lipstick on a pig?” No way, says PolitiFact. Does Sen. McCain support tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas? Not that simple, according to the site.

9. Election 08

iPhone users will be glad to know that they don’t have to be at a computer to track the latest on the 2008 presidential race. The iPhone application is a great source for tracking the latest polls as long as you don’t check to often — Election 08 is sometimes behind in its updates.

10. McCainPedia/Obamapedia

To say these two wikis are unbiased would be a big misstatement — the former is run by the DNC, the other is populated by Obama fans. Still, using modern technology to encourage citizen participation is never a bad thing.

11. What Would You Say to the President?

This genius bit of citizen participation encourages everyone to not only speak their mind to President Bush, but to presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama as well. Recent responses — which are themselves wholly interesting and telling — are displayed on each page.

12. Google Maps (campaign trail)

This Google map knows where the candidates will be and when and makes that information at the click of a button. Campaign appearances for both candidates are listed in reverse chronological order as well as marked on a map.

13. Google Maps (video)

Video of campaign speeches from both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain are tracked and mapped on these map mashups that incorporate video from YouTube.

14. Everymoment Now

Everymoment Now uses a unique graph to chart the number of times a candidate was mentioned on any particular day since August of this year. Clicking on a bar in the chart reveals news stories that were published that day as well as more detailed charts and graphs.

15. ABC News’ Match-o-Matic

If you plan on voting in the upcoming US election, but still don’t know which can
didate to vote for, the Match-o-Matic is sure to help. The humorous, interactive quiz gives the user two quotes — one from Sen. Obama and one from Sen. McCain — and the user selects which one they agree with most without knowing who said it. The final tally reveals which presidential candidate’s platform the user is more likely to side with.

How to edit your video online for free or cheap

Video editing doesn’t have to mean shelling out tons of cash for Final Cut Pro or limiting oneself to iMovie or Windows Media Maker.

After the news of Jumpcut’s demise, Motionbox remains the next best online video editing tool. Motionbox users can upload up to 300 MB video to the site (100 MB at a time) and edit it as they wish. Users can stream the completed video for free, but must upgrade to the premium version ($29.99 a year) for downloading capabilities and unlimited upload space. Motionbox is not a substitute for professional video editing, but it is a cheap and easy alternative.

JayCut lets users upload video from their camera, webcam or mobile phone and edit it on an iMovie-esque interface that is incredibly user-friendly. The finished video can be hosted by the service, downloaded to a PC or embedded on video social networks such as YouTube or MySpace.

Kaltura is where YouTube meets wiki. It offers a web-based platform where many users can collaborate on the editing of one or more videos using a Flash-based editor. Kaltura is geared toward businesses and the created video can be embedded on your site.

If your video is nice and edited, but was captured on a less than stellar device such as a cell phone, commercial digital camera or webcam, FixMyMovie can quickly improve its quality. The site will increase the video’s resolution, remove noise, and brighten any darkness. Users can either use the site’s upload tool or send the offending video via email. The process can take up to an hour depending on its size. After the video is scrubbed clean, FixMyMovie will email you a link to the enhanced version where it can be downloaded or embedded on the web.

Also on 10,000 Words:

9 Telltale signs of amateur video
Tips for shooting better video for the web
Newspapers on YouTube: Dos and Don’ts