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April 18, 2012
Wikipedia a PR Morass, Penn State Finds
 
Wikipedia is a morass for PR, new research from Penn State University confirms. "Sixty percent of Wikipedia articles about companies contain factual errors," reports Penn State's Marcia W. DiStaso, and it's often next to impossible to get them corrected. We've known that Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales and PR people don't hit it off. But these findings are disturbing news, indeed, for online research.

Wikipedia says its standard response time for making corrections is between two and five days. Yet Professor DiStaso reports that "When respondents attempted to engage editors through Wikipedia's 'Talk' pages to request corrections of facts in entries, 40 percent said it took 'days' to receive a response, 12 percent indicated 'weeks,' while 24 percent never received any type of response."

Marcia DiStaso is an assistant professor of public relations at Penn State. She surveyed 1,284 professionals via the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, the Institute for Public Relations, and the National Investor Relations Institute. The results indicate that Wikipedia is the pits for accurate coverage.

The magic seems to be wearing off citizen encyclopedia building via Wikipedia. Let the reader beware.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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