If it seemed to you like reaction to the L.A. Times wikitorial split along the lines that often divide those who get the Internet from those who don't have a clue, look again. Not only were the geeks at Slashdot some of the most outspoken critics (in their own way) of the Times effort, but Web journalism innovators Terry Teachout of Arts Journal's About Last Night and Jeff Jarvis, a former newspaper and magazine editor, also scored the Times experiment as misguided.
Teachout titled his post How not to do it:
I knew it was doomed from the start, as did everyone who knows anything about how new media work...
Jarvis wrote of Times editors:
No, guys, the best use of a wiki would have been to have the public create wikis to share their knowledge and viewpoints with you...But even that is an exhibition of media ego. For the truth is, if people wanted to do that, they could go to any number of places and do it on their own. They don't need newspapers to give them technology. And they certainly do not need newspapers to tell them what to talk about.
If newspapers would just listenóand use this technology to do thatóthey'd find that the people don't want to talk about what the editors talk about. And they certainly don't want to talk about the editors.
Let's take it up a notch: What this really points toward is the death of the editorial page.
Meanwhile, I'm told Times editors continue to process what occured to decide whether to revisit the wiki idea. And former Times editorial writer Stephen Burgard, now director of the journalism school at Northeastern University in Boston, replies to Mack Reed's take at LAVoice.org.