Category Archives: Wikinews

Rethinking Wikinews

Digital opinion-makers across the blogosphere and the twitterscape been increasingly preoccupied with the rapid decline of the print news industry. Revenues from print circulation and print advertising have both shrunk dramatically, and internet advertising revenues have so far been able to replace only a fraction of that. Newspapers throughout the U.S. are downsizing, some are switching to online-only, and some are simply being shuttered. The question is, what, if anything, will pick up the journalistic slack. (Clay Shirky’s essay, “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable“, is the best thing I’ve seen in this vein, although I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some contrasting viewpoints, such as Dave Winer’s “If you don’t like the news…” and Jason Pontin’s response to Shirky and Winer, “How to Save Media“.)

On its face, Wikinews seems an ideal project to pick up some of that slack. Collaborative software + citizen journalism + brand and community links to Wikipedia…it seems like a formula for success, and yet Wikinews remains a minor project. There are typically only 10 -20 stories per day, most of which are simply summaries of newspaper journalism. Stories with first-hand reporting are published about once every other day, and even many of these rely primarily on the work of professional journalists and have only minor original elements.

Why doesn’t Wikinews have a large, active community? What might a successful Wikinews look like? I have a few ideas.

One reason I write and report for Wikipedia regularly, but only every once in a while for Wikinews, is that writing Wikipedia articles (and writing for the Wikipedia Signpost) feels like being part of something bigger. Everything connects to work that others are doing. I know I’m part of a community working for common goals (more or less). Even if I’m the only contributor to an article, I know there are incoming links to it, that it fits into a broader network. On Wikinews, I can write a story, but it is likely to be one of maybe 20 stories for the day, none of which have much of anything to do with each other.

I went to the Tax Day Tea Party in Hartford, Connecticut with my camera and a notepad. (I put a set of 108 photos on Commons and on Flickr.) Similar protests reportedly took place in about 750 other cities. If there was ever an opportunity for collaborative citizen journalism, this seemed like it. But there was nothing happening on Wikinews, and I didn’t see the point writing a story about one out of hundreds of protests, which wouldn’t even be a legitimate target for a Wikinews callout in the related Wikipedia article.

What I take from this is the importance of organization. Wikinews needs a system for identifying events worth covering before (or while) they happen and recruiting users for specific tasks (e.g., “find out the official police estimate of attendance, photograph and/or record the messages of as many protest signs as possible, and gather some quotes from attendees about why they are protesting”).

My most rewarding experience with Wikinews was a story on the photographic origins of the Obama HOPE poster. It grew out of a comment on the talk page of the poster’s Wikipedia article; the comment appeared while it was on the Main Page as a “Did you know” hook. The lesson here is, in the (alleged) words of Clay Shirky, “go where people are convening online, rather than starting a new place to conveve”. (I think it was unfortunate that Wikinews started as a separate project rather than a “News:” namespace on Wikipedia, but what’s done is done.) There are many places online people gather to discuss and produce news, in addition to Wikipedia; one path to success might be to extend the social boundaries to Wikinews to reach out to existing communities. Although other citizen journalism and special interest communities don’t share the institutional agenda of Wikinews (name, NPOV as a core principle), some members of other communities will be willing to create or adapt their work to be compatible with Wikinews’ requirements. And certain communities actually do share a commitment to neutrality, which raises the possibility of syndication arrangements (in which, e.g., original news reports from a library news automatically get added to the Wikinews database as well).

Shirky and others have argued that some kinds of journalism (in particular, investigative journalism) are not possible without assigning or permitting reporters to develop a story in depth over a long period of time–and these may be the most important kinds of journalism for maintaining a healthy democracy. To some extent, alternative finance models (with public donations like National Public Radio or with endowments like The Huffington Post ) may be filling some of the void left by shrinking newpaper staffs, but it seems unlikely that these models will support anything close to the number of journalists that newspapers do/did.

Wikinews could contribute to investigative journalism in a couple of ways. The simplest is something similar to what Talking Points Memo does–crowdsourcing the analysis of voluminous public documents to identify interesting potential stories. However, as Aaron Swartz recently argued, there are serious limits to what can be gleaned from public documents; as he says, “Transparency is Bunk“.

Another way would be to either fund a core of professionals or collaborate with investigative journalists who work for other non-profits. These professional journalists would–to the extent that it is possible–recruit and manage volunteer Wikinewsies to pursue big stories where the investigative work required is modular enough that part-time amateurs can fruitfully contribute.

In the same vein a professional editor working for Wikinews could be in charge of identifying self-contained reporting opportunities based on geography (e.g., significant political and cultural events) and running an alert system (maybe integrated with the Wikipedia Geonotice system for users who opt in) to let users know what’s happening near them that they could report on. One of the hardest things for a would-be Wikinewsie original reporter is just figuring out what needs covering.

I’m sure there there are a lot of different models for Wikinews that could make it into a successful project. But it’s clear that the current one isn’t working very well.

The Obama poster goes to court

Comparison of obama photos to Fairey poster

Comparison of obama photos to Fairey poster

Maybe I’m weird, but I’m really excited about the prospect of high profile copyright/fair use litigation. As the New York Times reports, the Associated Press sued street artist Shepard Fairey over the Obama “Hope” poster, which was based on a shot by former A.P. freelance photographer Mannie Garcia.

A few weeks ago, I started the Wikipedia article on the poster. It ended up on the Main Page for “Did you know?” on inauguration day, and while it was there another editor, Dforest, pointed me to something very interesting: this Flickr photo by stevesimula (shown above). When I wrote the article, it was thought (and reported) that the lower shot (a Reuters photo by Jim Young) was the basis for Fairey’s poster. But stevesimula had convincingly demonstrated the true source, which apparently was known only to Fairey (and probably some of his crew), some of the Obama people, and whatever isolated netizens might have noticed. (I investigated some rumors that an art forum had found it months earlier, but couldn’t verify that.)

This was getting interesting, but beyond what was allowed on Wikipedia without violating the ban on Original Research. Long story short, I started a Wikinews article on the photo source, and a tip from Dforest and me (that the photo was from A.P., which we found with TinEye.com) led photographer Tom Gralish to find a copy of the original that included metadata, identifying the photographer. If we’d just been a little smarter, we might have beaten Gralish to the punch and broken a story of national import.

Now A.P. has sued Fairey (who didn’t profit directly from Obama poster sales, but no doubt has seen a huge surge in interest in his other for-profit work) for violating its copyright. Fairey, assisted by a Stanford law proffesor among others, is suing back, seeking a declaratory judgment that the poster is fair use. To make it even better, Mannie Garcia claims he actually owns the copyright, because of the terms of his A.P. contract.

I’m a big supporter of fair use, but this is an interesting case of pushing the boundaries. The main reason I’m ambivalent is the way Fairey handled it… he originally appropriated the image with no attempt at crediting Garcia. Fairey has obviously benefitted tremendously (if not directly, in terms of profit) from the image, but has also dramatically increased the value of the original. His work is also essentially a political statement, something fair use is supposed to protect and allow. But the hybrid nature of Fairey’s commercial street art (controversial even within the street art scene) complicates things. Either you’re doing this essentially anti-authoritarian street art that is based on grafitti culture, or you’re running an art business. If it’s the former, go ahead and break the rules you disagree with or don’t care about, but don’t expect to be making the big bucks mass-producing and selling your designs. If it’s the latter, you should at least have the decency to credit other artists whose work you use for your own.

I’m really rooting for Garcia, here. From all the snippets I’ve read, he seems gracious and thoughtful. From the Times:

“I don’t condone people taking things, just because they can, off the Internet,” Mr. Garcia said. “But in this case I think it’s a very unique situation.”

He added, “If you put all the legal stuff away, I’m so proud of the photograph and that Fairey did what he did artistically with it, and the effect it’s had.”

But I’m also rooting for Fairey, or at least for the entrenchment of liberal fair use rights.

These are the kind of stories Wikinews should be doing

The election numerology blog fivethirtyeight.com has been publishing a series of fascinating “On the road” posts by Sean Quinn and photographer Brett Marty. Quinn and Marty have been traveling through battleground states investigating the “ground game” of the McCain and Obama campaigns, reporting on the voter registration and get-out-the-vote operations managed by volunteers and paid staffers in the regional and local campaign offices.

See the latest few:

Individually, these might seem minor, but the series as a whole makes for an important story that has been largely neglected by traditional news sources. It’s also the type of thing Wikinews could excel at, with a little more organization. Wikimedians all over the U.S. could go out the same weekend and do stories on the local dimensions of these national campaigns, and the result could be something very special.

Bonus link:

  • The Wikipedian Candidate – an interesting analysis of the (it seems increasingly clear) ill-advised selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s VP and the important things that don’t come across in a Wikipedia article, from fivethirtyeight.com’s Nate Silver

The Future of Wikipedia (my take), part 2

In my last post, I proposed some major changes to Wikipedia, such as liberalized inclusion standards, increased emphasis on news and the incorporation of social networking and casual discussion features. The aim of these ideas is to broaden the editor base to keep the unreachable goal of “the sum of all human knowledge” in sight.

In the long run, I think Wikinews has as much, if not more, of an important role to play in Wikimedia information ecosystem… especially with the shrinking ranks of professional journalists that will only shrink more as print newspapers circle the drain.

The centerpiece of my ideas for getting Wikinews Original Reporting to critical mass is to hire a professional newsroom manager to point Wikimedians in the right direction. Aside from the fact that Wikinews is a different site, with different policies and a different vibe, the main thing that stops more Wikipedians from doing Original Reporting is that they don’t know what to report on. Professional journalists are given specific assignments; newsrooms have robust systems for identifying potentially newsworthy events and dispatching local reporters ahead of time.

Wikinews could take advantage of Wikipedia’s location-based sitenotice (which lets logged-in users know about Wikipedia events such as meetups in their area) to inform potential reporters of upcoming viable reporting topics nearby. The newsroom manager would use the same kinds of information systems as traditional newsrooms to pinpoint news in progress or likely upcoming news events, and create a constant stream of local notices to attract reporters from the among the editing community.

The main problem, which many Wikipedians are familiar with, is that volunteer resources are not easily transferred. One of the perennial arguments that comes up when well-intentioned editors try to crack down on “cruft” and seemingly trivial Wikipedia content is that all that time editors spend writing about local bands and arcane fiction plot details could be better spent working on articles that matter. Editors who have been around longer just smile; it doesn’t work that way. For the most part, people only contribute in areas they are interested in. However, local news is one area that has a natural interest community… and one that is easy to single out, based on IP location.

Of course, the biggest potential strength of Wikinews (and the strongest area of original coverage now, aside from interviews) is not location-limited: internet news. Coverage of Scientology and Project Chanology is a case in point. Many Wikimedians are actually more competent than professional journalists to understand and investigate online happenings and stories related to internet culture. This is an area of coverage that I think will expand naturally once Wikinews reaches critical mass (the point where large numbers of users visit Wikinews regularly just to see what is there, because, like with the main newspapers or the professional blogs, they can always count on new and interesting content, much of which isn’t found elsewhere). There is enormous scope for tech and digital entertainment news, investigative journalism and human-interest news based on online communities, and this kind of content could take off once Wikinews reaches a certain level of confidence as not just a project that reports the news, but a project that makes the news in the same way traditional media does.

——–

My suggestion in the last post of increasing news coverage on Wikipedia, and eliminating all but Original Reporting from Wikinews, drew some fire from Jason Safoutin (DragonFire1024): “Wikipedia is NOT news and the quicker they realize that the better.” Part of my response is that Wikipedia can be whatever the community and the Foundation want it to be. But I should clarify; what I propose would more along the lines of a merger of the non-original reporting of Wikinews with Wikipedia. It would still be acceptable (as it is now on Wikinews) to cover local news events of primarily local interest, and ways of sorting and organizing news coverage could be implemented. The main difference would be that news coverage on Wikipedia never reaches a certified (and protected) final published form.

Another Wikinewsie, Steven Fruitsmaak, noted that “community reporting is not something that sets Wikinews apart: look at Indymedia, OhMyNews, NowPublic, … Wikinews can bring NPOV and collaborative editing to grassroots journalism.” This is an important point. Right now, there several other citizens journalism sites; citizen journalism sets Wikinews apart from mainstream media, while the Neutral Point of View policy sets Wikinews apart from other community reporting websites and the increasingly sophisticated amateur and professional blogosphere. Nevertheless, I think the market is still wide open for a citizen journalism project that has both the independence and interactivity of new media and something approaching the breadth, volume and neutrality of traditional media (i.e., something like a thriving Wikinews).

——–

In my next post, I discuss some possible ways to attract more subject-matter experts (e.g., academics), who so far have been reticent contribute.

The Future of Wikipedia (my take), part 1

The future of Wikipedia is a perennial topic of discussion among Wikipedians and Wikipedia critics. It’s a topic I’ve been thinking about for a while (see my prognostications from early 2007). I apologize in advance for a long post.

It seems like Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation are finally turning the corner in several long-anticipated respects. The two long-heralded software projects, Unified Login and Stable Versions, are functional and moving toward implementation. The professionalization of the Foundation is starting to pay dividends: in the last few days, Executive Director Sue Gardner announced a $3 million, 3-year grant from the Sloan Foundation, followed a few days later by a $500,000 grant from philanthropists Vinod and Neeru Khosla.

Financial stability, and even financial flexibility, may be on the horizon, and the harshest critiques that could potentially derail the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia (in particular, those of Larry Sanger and the recent, ongoing accusations by Danny Wool and Kelly Martin) seem to have spent most of their energy without much effect. That’s not to say that these critiques are entirely unfounded, but it’s becoming clear that the worst of them are either in the past or not of project-killing significance. So it’s a good time to reassess the big issues that will shape the project’s future.

The title and main topic of the newest Wikipedia Weekly podcast is The Future of Wikipedia. The discussion (the “feeback” and “Wii moment” sections, from 21:47 to about 52:52) is primarily about the future growth of Wikipedia; Andrew Lih and Liam Wyatt disagreed in the last podcast about how big we can expect Wikipedia to be in the years to come.

Andrew forcefully states an idea that parallels my own thoughts on Wikipedia’s future: to come anywhere close to “the sum of all human knowledge”, the project needs a “Wii moment”, a reformulation of what it means to contribute to Wikipedia (along the lines of what the Wii did for gaming) that opens things up to huge numbers of people who never would have participated so before. The podcast discusses some of the basic things that will make editing more accessible: what-you-see-is-what-you-get editing, and a gentler culture that is more appealing to people with little patience for revert wars and wikilawyering.

I have a more expansive vision of what Wikipedia and its sister projects ought to become. In this and some follow-up posts, I’ll lay out some of my ideas for major changes.

One of the most promising avenues for expanding the scope of the Wiki(p/m)edia community is news. Right now, Wikipedia has a troubled relationship to the news. One recent example: Obama’s race speech, “A More Perfect Union“, was undergoing a deletion discussion from the evening of March 18 (the day the speech was made and the article was written) until yesterday. In the meantime, the article got 4000 hits the first day, and after the initial news burst has been holding steady around 1000 hits per day. For news topics, people want the kind of synthetic, continually updated neutral view that Wikipedia (at its best) provides. But neither mainstream media nor the new media of partisan blogs and social news sites provide this, Wikipedia avoids this except for “notable” stories, and Wikinews operates no differently from traditional news, calling a story “done” once it’s published.

In my view, most of Wikinews ought to be merged with Wikipedia, leaving only Original Reporting for Wikinews. For big topics that have both ongoing news and a long, broad history, Wikipedia ought to have separate subpages for more detailed explanation of specific news events (a la Wikinews articles, but continually open to update). This will encourage the participation of the thousands of news junkies who, at present, are not particularly welcome on Wikipedia (and don’t want to waste their time writing Wikinews articles no one will read, if they even know about Wikinews).

Wikimedia could do even more with news. News is the subject of continual, massive interest, and the there is a large–and mostly unmet–demand for internet discussion of news. Most internet news sources do not have even rudimentary forums for discussion, and even for the ones that do, much more discussion happens offsite than on. For example, the top link on social news site reddit right now is this article on Time‘s politics blog, which does not allow comments. The reddit discussion is 140 comments long and counting. Even traditional news sites that do allow comments rarely have anywhere near that level of participation, even for articles that are heavily discussed at Digg, Reddit, slashdot, and the blogosphere.

The top social news sites are only modestly popular, and there is still plenty of room for new players. If Wikimedia started a social news site, and melded it on to Wikipedia along with other features that give users more of an outlet for interaction that is not centered on article improvement, Wikipedia could probably go from the #9 site on the internet (down from #8 last year) to the #1 site. That’s not an end it itself, but it would have a huge impact on content in terms of turning readers into discussants, and discussants into contributors. Every article and news story would have a sleek discussion thread (maybe dynamic ones based on users’ Wikimedia social networks, or imported social network data from Facebook, MySpace, and the others).

I realize that bits and pieces of this are being done elsewhere (including Wikia, e.g., with their politics site), but Wikipedia has the userbase and reputation to actually make it work.

Along with social networking and free discussion, article policies would have to be liberalized; at the very least, the notability concept should be retired, although a more integrated system of sorting articles based on the level of reliable sourcing could be put in place instead, so that readers always have a clear idea of whether they are reading a biography of a significant figure based on the work of professional historians, or the biography of somebody’s grandfather pieced together from newspaper clippings and family records.

In my next post, I’ll discuss my ideas about Original Reporting for Wikinews; although my above proposals would gut the current core of Wikinews, I envision a future for Wikinews even brighter than Wikipedia’s, based primarily on citizen journalism.

How does Wikipedia affect experts?

Britannica Blog’s Web 2.0 forum is wrapping up this week. On the Wikipedia front, Michael Gorman has delivered his promised Wikipedia post, and danah boyd has an exceptional reply on why Wikipedia, and access to knowledge in general, is important. While Gorman’s posts are consistently vapid and unprovocative (except in the sense that cable news talking points are provocative), some of the other new media critics–particularly Seth Finkelstein–highlight an important issue that I think is at the heart of the debate. Namely, how do Wikipedia and other aspects of the read/write web knowledge ecosystem affect experts/professionals and their traditional systems of knowledge production?

The shared assumption amongst critics is that the effects are largely negative. Finkelstein put it dramatically in a comment directed at boyd. He characterizes the ‘experts should stop complaining about Wikipedia’s problems and just fix them’ refrain as “arguing that “capitalists” should give – not even sell, but give – Wikipedia the rope to hang them with!” He adds, “If an expert writes a good Wikipedia article, that gets claimed as the wisdom of crowds and presented as proof that amateurs can do just as well as experts.” So scholars are putting themselves out of a job by contributing to Wikipedia and the like.

Setting aside the ‘Wikipedia=Wisdom of Crowds’ strawman that so many Wikipedia critics knock down as their first and final argument, Finkelstein (and some of the others) hit on an important argument: amateur-produced knowledge products (often of inferior quality) are free, and this endangers the (political, financial, intellectual, and/or cultural) economies of expertise. But is that true? Is Wikipedia reducing the demand for scholarly monographs? Is writing a good Wikipedia article on the history of biology going to cut into the sales of all the sources I cite? Is it going to fill the demand for history of biology scholarship and make it tougher to find a publisher for my own work? In economic terms, the competition argument against Wikipedia assumes that traditionally-produced expert knowledge and community-produced knowledge are substitute goods with respect to each other (and are not substitute goods with respect to even lower quality knowledge products like cable news, tabloids, and CNN.com), that either demand for knowledge is relatively static or increased consumption isn’t necessarily desirable, and that knowledge products do not have significant prestige value linked to their traditional pricey modes of production (i.e., they aren’t Veblen goods).

Which of these assumptions holds true differs according to what genre of knowledge we’re talking about. Wikipedia is obviously a substitute for traditional encyclopedias (even if inferior); the Wikipedia threat has been obvious to Britannica and her since 2003. And while consumption of encyclopedia-style knowledge has increased tremendously, critics can argue that the quality is so inferior that it isn’t worth the displacement of traditional encyclopedia consumption. Britannica is also realizing that the mystique of their brand isn’t what it used to be; raising prices in certainly not going to increase demand. So for the encyclopedia genre, Wikipedia is harmful to the traditional expert production system, and possibly (depending on the quality level) harmful to society as a whole.

For original expert research, the stuff of scholarly books and journal articles, the situation is very different. In some cases, Wikipedia articles might act as subsitute goods for scholarly books and journals. However, an encyclopedia article is a fundamentally different knowledge product from an original journal article. The typical journal article is far deeper, and far less accessible, than the approximately corresponding Wikipedia article. My feeling is that rather than act as substitutes, Wikipedia articles and expert research usually contribute to network effects: a good Wikipedia article draws in new knowledge consumers, some of whom then delve into the expert research. In the world of the ivory tower, a humanist scholar usually has to worry much more about competition from the countless other topics out there than about an oversupply of work on one’s own topic. The more people hear about your topic, the more demand there is for your expertise.

News is the other main genre to consider. The newspaper industry has been in a downward spiral for years. Television news is a powerful competitor, and it’s plausible (though by no means obvious) that Wikipedia, citizen journalism, and the blogosphere are contributing to the slow death of the newspapers as well. (Sadly, it’s not plausible that Wikinews is contributing to the downfall of print journalism. At some point, the disintegration of professional journalism may reach a critical mass, and citizen journalism will step up to fill the holes left by the shrinking New York Times. Wikinews has the potential to become the most important media organization in the world, but at this point it still has virtually no impact beyond the Wikimedia community.)

But it seems that the shift to the web (with its drastically lower ad revenues) and the competition among newspapers that can now compete across the country (or even globally) is the main cause. Papers used to have more-or-less local monopolies for print news; they would buy national and world news from the wire agencies (for which they were the only local suppliers) and pour most of their revenue into local and regional reporting. But now, any paper can use the internet to hock national and international news, and consumption of that kind of knowledge product is fairly static (at least compared to encyclopedia article consumption). So competition lowers the price of broad news (with modest increases in text-based news consumption, at best) and restricts the production (and increases the price) of local and investigative journalism.

The situation is much the same as the late-19th/early-20th century steel and railroad industries: there is just to much competition for a stable marketplace, so we’re seeing mergers and increasingly powerful media conglomerates (and the government is more willing to sign off on cross-media mergers). So I don’t think that web 2.0 knowledge products are responsible for the troubles of professional journalism, but if they don’t step up to fill the gaps, maybe nothing will.

Roger Kimball (cultural critic and c0-editor of the conservative literary magazine The New Criterion) has a sharp take on the dangers of cyberspace (hint: they have nothing to do with threats to traditional expertise and everything to do with the real world we’re missing as we piddle around in virtual worlds). Kimball’s points are worth keeping in mind, and on the topic of journalism and web 2.0, one of the key ways to avoid some of the dangers of cyberspace is to create and participate in online communities that are focused on the real world (e.g., Wikinews and the parts of Wikipedia that are not about entertainment).

(P.S.: I don’t actually know anything about economics, so treat my analysis like you would a Wikipedia article)

Bonus links:

Protesting Bush at Coast Guard Academy

Yesterday, I went to New London to participate in an anti-war protest as President Bush spoke at the Coast Guard Academy commencement. It was a worthwhile experience, and I took over 200 pictures (33 of which I put on Wikimedia Commons) and wrote my first Wikinews article (“Protesters demonstrate at US Coast Guard Academy“). Next time I go to something like this I’m going to take extensive notes, write down quotes, and do full-fledged original reporting.

There were about 500 spirited protesters (one news article put it at 1000, but I doubt that), and a much less formal (i.e., Democratic Party line) slate of speakers than the politician-led rally in Hartford on March 17. For most of the protesters, both speakers and the crowd, impeachment was emphatically not off the table, and the main organizing group, ANSWER Coalition, has a bunch of real-life socialists and other assorted radicals. There was also a sizable group (ca. 50-75) of counter-protesters, mostly combat vets and family members (of which there were also a fair number on the anti-war side). As one kid remarked, the counter-protesters (organized by Gathering of Eagles) were way more metal than anything the anti-war side could manage. This guy was the most interesting: he was hurling insults and provocative statements through his loudspeaker almost non-stop. Choice quotes:

“Don’t take the brown acid!”

“I like the women’s movement. Especially from behind.”

“Freedom. It’s not just for white people anymore.”

“War freed the slaves! War saved the Jews! Anti-war racists go home!”

He was the perfect example of that weird juxtaposition of conservative political ideology and intolerance in the name of American Christianity.

Overall, the event was pretty disappointing. One seventeen-year-old said something like “there has to an element of transgression, or it’s just more shit in the system.” This was an orderly gathering of fairly orderly citizens, separated by about five times the number of police officers necessary to keep the peace. No civil disobedience, and the designated protest area was well beyond the radius of the commencement activities. We caught a brief glimpse of the President’s motorcade, but mostly it was just reporters (I’d guess at least two dozen, maybe more, with several news vans) keeping us company. I did mentioned in a follow-up article this morning in the Norwich Bulletin:

Yale doctoral student Sage Ross was protesting the president and snapping photos of both sides for the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the Internet-based, free encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

He said this protest was livelier than others, because it was next to the academy. Pro-troop protesters rebuffed him when he approached them to take photos.

“They didn’t quite buy it that I was one of the press,” he said with a smile.

Related blogging: