WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 16, 2014 – Wikipedia is one of the most important websites on the Internet today, and also one of the most challenging to PR and communications professionals. Yet not enough has been said about the right way to approach the user-generated encyclopedia.
Stepping into the void is “Wikipedia and the Communications Professional: A manual,” a twenty-page ebook providing a concise yet detailed overview of the landscape of Wikipedia rules as they apply to PR efforts. Its author is William Beutler, a longtime Wikipedia editor and founder of Beutler Ink, presented in cooperation with the Council of Public Relations Firms and Institute for Public Relations.
The publication is the culmination of years of work by the PR industry on both sides of the Atlantic to establish clear and well-understood ground rules for dealing with Wikipedia.
“Our goal is to foster a climate of cooperation between the public relations industry and Wikipedia, so that both can advance their goals while benefiting society,” said Matt Shaw, senior vice president, Council of Public Relations Firms. “This e-book, and the Wikipedia initiative overall, is clearly aligned with the Council’s Code of Ethics and Principles. Providing guidelines like these reinforces the industry’s commitment to accuracy, truthfulness, transparency and disclosure.”
This year 35 top PR firms, including Beutler Ink, Peppercomm, Edelman, Ogilvy & Mather, Fleishman Hillard, Burson-Marsteller, Ketchum, Porter Novelli, Fahlgren Mortine, Waggener Edstrom Communications, MSLGROUP, Glover Park Group, Cohn & Wolf and MM2, all signed a pact promising to play by Wikipedia’s rules, not make edits on their own and to work with the editors to ensure that all Wikipedia content is accurate and objective.
“This is the next step in providing easy to understand rules and advice to all PR pros, many of whom are often asked to manage the Wikipedia page for a company, but are discouraged from directly editing articles by Wikipedia because of that business conflict,” said Marcia DiStaso, research editor, Institute for Public Relations Social Science of Social Media Research Center.
The manual covers a broad range of topics of interest to marketing and PR professionals, such as effective ways to make requests for content changes, appropriate methods for dealing with vandalism, and how to handle disputes with other contributors. In addition, the e-book provides a basis for answering the question: “how do I know if I can create a new article?”
“Wikipedia and the Communications Professional—A Manual” is available as a download from Beutler Ink (www.beutlerink.com) , the Council of Public Relations Firms (www.prcouncil.net) and the Institute for Public Relations (www.instituteforpr.org).
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