Thinking about the weeks of coverage we’ve had in the UK of the worst floods to hit the country in decades, it seems to me there’s been a missed opportunity by news organisations to create a resource that would have been hugely useful to the hundreds of thousands of residents affected: a wiki.
- Wikipedia has a page on the floods, but this is more about facts and figures than helpful information, such as ‘which areas are affected now? Where can I get water?’.
- ProjectDisaster has a ‘swicki’ about the floods – “a cross between search engines and Wikipedia – the community can add, delete and improve the results” which looks an interesting idea but isn’t working very well (it mixes UK and US; there are commercial entries)
- And BBC Berkshire produced an interactive flood map using Google Maps, which allowed people to see what was happening where their friends and family might be, but not necessarily any practical information.
- The rest of the interactive coverage mostly centred on people sending in their experiences, or on scattered text announcements and advice, with no organisation.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, a wiki quickly sprang up where people could exchange information on survivors, places of safety, and other useful information. Of course, it may be that something was created for the UK floods, and I’m not aware of it. If so, let me know.
Reminder: my wiki on wiki journalism is still welcoming contributions. If you know of examples, literature on the subject of participatory journalism/wikis, or have analysis of your own, please visit http://wikijournalism.pbwiki.com/ – the password to contribute is ‘wikiwiki’. All (non-anonymous) contributions will be acknowledged.