The Newspapers on Wikipedia (or, #NOW) project was started by Mike Caulfield in response to findings published by Emma and Eni in Investigating the Effects of Google’s Search Engine Result Page in Evaluating the Credibility of Online News Sources. They found that of 8,000 news publisher Google search results pages, less than 40% had Knowledge Panels, the content of which are often based off of Wikipedia pages. As Knowledge Panels can serve as a first step in identifying a credible news sources, especially for lesser-known local sources, the need to create Wikipedia pages is significant.
Further, the project:
- Improved the gender imbalance in Wikipedia editorship (by encouraging more women and non-binary students to get involved via Edit-a-Thons)
- Addressed the Wikipedia “death spiral” as coined by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University
- Sought to preserve journalistic history in an era in which the fourth estate is constantly under fire
The #NOW project ran July 30th — December 15th 2018 and resulted in the creation of more than 260 infoboxes, which are crucial components of the Wikipedia pages. For each new infobox, $25 was donated by the generous Paul Haahr and Susan Karp to the Room to Read charity.
Our work on the project included organizing Edit-a-Thons at Wellesley (see coverage by Wellesley College here) and a presentation at the Computation + Journalism Summit ’19 by Annabel and Emma entitled How the Interplay of Google and Wikipedia Affects Perceptions of Online News Sources.