Research:Use of Wikipedia by Nepali Journalists to Fulfill Their Information Needs
The Lead: Introduce and describe your project at a high level in one or two paragraphs. Will the output of this project provide tangible benefits for our community (in the form of data, software, Web services)? If the output of this project mainly consists of scholarly publications, what aspects of Wikimedia projects will they help to understand
- Pilot survey with sample size 20+. (Participants Nepalese journalists working in Print, Radio, TV, Online, News agency etc)
- Case Study of two Veteran Wikipedians given up editing.
- Status Exploration
- Survey with Questionnaire - Sample size 104 (Participants Nepalese journalists working in Print, Radio, TV, Online, News agency etc)
- Focal Person Interview - Interviewed 5 journalists from different media with 5 basic subjective questions.
- Link to questionnaire of Pilot survey = https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16nt23_4-a0lvgY8OUuJng34mq-QVEPuABxbD7Kqblas
- Link to questionnaire of Main survey = https://docs.google.com/forms/d/111t6FO-9NECbnHlNEvjtbgPlxg-w60zeSsIYM2uZa6g
- Pilot Survey (Completed in 2014)
- Main Survey (Completed in 2016)
Policy, Ethics and Human Subjects Research
The research have been conducted with journalists. Questionnaires were filled-up by the journalists personally. I did not compel anyone to participate in the research. Pre-informed and consented journalists were interviewed via telephone for subjective questions. I hope I did not disrupt them in their work.
The imperative task of a journalist is information dissemination to the public using mass media. In the process, journalists have to maintain their source of information as well. Books, journals, magazines etc. are conventional information sources, whereas internet has been established as a huge source of information since the late 90s. Wikipedia is a web-based free encyclopedia run by a non-profit charity and available in 285 languages. The huge information repository is ever increasing in content of all subjects by voluntary contribution from individuals. Wikipedia is regarded as a trusted source of information by people of all profession. Wikipedia is published under Creative Commons Share Alike Attribution (CC-BY-SA) license, in which, anyone can use and redistribute the information accordingly.
This research has been carried out to find out the amount and reason to use Wikipedia by journalists. Hypothesis was formed by the assumption journalists might be using Wikipedia hugely. To verify the assumption, a pilot survey (May, 2014) was carried out to find out the extent and reasons to use Wikipedia by journalists. The study was completed using status exploration and main survey (2016). In the main survey, 104 professional journalists were included in the questionnaire and five were interviewed as focal persons. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used for data analysis.
Findings show the growth graph in the 15 years history of Wikipedia is vertical. Studying the Wikipedias in South Asian Languages in past 9 years, Chinese Wikipedia has grown by 13,076.71% whereas Nepali Wikipedia is grown by 1,988.57%. The least grown Hindi Wikipedia has 789.89% growth. General people to high level political leaders are contributing to improve Wikipedia content by talking about it.
Findings say Nepali journalists heavily rely on the internet content for their information needs and they mostly use Wikipedia in the newsroom. The degree of purpose to use Wikipedia varied by different roles of the journalists. Reporters mostly refer to online encyclopedia for background information, desk editors for updated information and data. Chief Editors use it for data and information verification, as well as background information.
Nepali Print and Online media are mostly found using information from Wikipedia. They use the content directly quoting Wikipedia and sometimes without quoting. They were also found to use photographs from Wikimedia projects like Wikimedia Commons. Usage of text or photos with giving credit to the author does not match the style that CC-BY-SA allows. The media is found quoting to Wikimedia, not the author of the text or photograph(s). The study suggests to follow the license for re-distribution.
Wikipedia is sometimes also criticized for serving wrong information, nevertheless, the trust level of Journalists in Wikipedia is found very high. They do NOT think that the information provided on the portal is wrong. Nepali journalists rate Wikipedia high for both relevance and reliability. Respondents realized that they failed to dig out in-depth content from the internet. They feel local content is always lacking in internet and most of them are unable to understand the content in English and other foreign languages. It is found that the journalists have hope in Wikipedia for positive change in the availability of knowledge in local language.
The study suggests Wikipedia to increase content on Nepal, overall content in local languages, provide complete information and make it more reliable. The study also suggests Wikipedia to increase contents about Nepal, content in local languages to make them more informative.
Findings suggest Nepal Government to make its clear policy and should bring programs for tangible increment of local internet content. The study has suggested the government to make a firm policy to ensure citizen’s access to free knowledge like Wikipedia. For this it should make compulsory to every ISP to provide access to Wikipedia without charging money.