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February 03, 2012

Op-Ed (Techdirt): Making The Case For PR Pros Editing Wikipedia

In a Feb. 3, 2012, op-ed in Techdirt, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) advocates for public relations professionals being allowed to edit Wikipedia entries.
 
“The issue over edits made on Wikipedia is one that affects more than just the public relations profession. It has implications for every business, organization and institution around the world, given Wikipedia’s widespread use as an information resource,” writes PRSA Chair and CEO Gerard F. Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA. “We believe there is a case to be made for PR professionals to responsibly edit client Wikipedia entries in an ethical and transparent manner. At its most basic level, it is a matter of serving the public interest.”
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By Gerard F. Corbett, PRSA Chair and CEO
Techdirt

Published: Feb. 3, 2012
 
Obscured amidst the hysteria over anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA has been a valuable discussion bubbling up within public relations about PR people editing clients’ Wikipedia entries.

It’s a topic that has been debated for years. From Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales stating in 2006 that “PR firms editing Wikipedia is something that we frown upon very, very strongly” to last year’s Bell Pottinger lobbying scandal, where it emerged that the firm was surreptitiously manipulating client’s Wikipedia entries — raising the ire of Mr. Wales and his Wikipedia acolytes — it’s a discussion that seemingly knows no end.

PR people have long been frustrated by the complexities of the Wikipedia editing process. Colleagues tell us they feel rebuffed by what they believe is an arcane system meant to ostracize them whenever they attempt to correct inaccurate or outdated employer or client entries.

The issue over edits made on Wikipedia is one that affects more than just the public relations profession. It has implications for every business, organization and institution around the world, given Wikipedia’s widespread use as an information resource.

Read the full op-ed in Techdirt.

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