Oct 22 2018

Platinum guides PRs on Wikipedia

Last week saw the launch of ‘Platinum’, a book celebrating 70 years of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

The book includes 45 essays providing an insight into contemporary PR practice, alongside the history of the formation and development of the CIPR. Written by a diverse group of practitioners, working in a broad range of organisations, the book is divided into five sections:

  • Performance: The impact of practicing public relations as a management discipline on modern organisations
  • Perspective: Reflections on the CIPR’s history and its communities
  • Potential: Exploring the future of the profession such as automation, artificial intelligence, and tools
  • Practice: A discussion of modern areas of public relations
  • Provocation: Exploring issues related to the future of the profession

wikipedia-logoI have provided a chapter of the book in the Practice section, having pitched the idea for a chapter on Wikipedia to editor Stephen Waddington a year ago. I have covered some of the issues relating to PRs’ conflicts of interest in editing Wikipedia articles about their employers or clients in previous blog posts (here, for example; I briefly repeat the same cautions and point to the same CIPR advice), but I also try to explain other ways in which PR people can constructively engage with Wiki projects and the Wiki community in general:

 

  • “For the individual practitioner, it can help hone the rapid production of clear, accurate and concise prose, backed by verifiable sources (useful in debunking ‘fake news’); and it can improve knowledge of people, places, organisations and other notable subjects (and of what constitutes notability) relating to other parts of industry or society.
  • “For campaigns, Wikipedia ‘editathons’ and a ‘Wikipedian in Residence’ can be used to expand the breadth and depth of coverage regarding an institution and its activities – the BBC, for example, has run events to increase the number of articles about notable women, countering a historical bias towards white males, while the Wellcome Trust employed a Wikipedian to improve content relating to the history of medicine.
  • “Moreover, the wider Wiki projects movement is also helping to democratise ‘open knowledge’ – Wikimedia Commons provides a library of over 47 million media files that are free to use, for example. Organisations can contribute to the Commons by releasing images and other content for free reuse; for example, the UK Parliament distributes images under a Creative Commons licence allowing their reuse including publication on Wikipedia. Such approaches allow organisations to influence how pages about them or their people look without directly editing them. …”

You can order the book on Kindle or paperback.

Other authors have been, or will be, blogging about their participation. Search #CIPR70 on social media to find out more, or visit the CIPR newsroom.

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