Times Takes a While to See Wiki



We sure do like being first...and beating the NY Times to boot!

From today's NYT front page:

In July, in a sharp break from tradition, the Army began encouraging its personnel from the privates to the generals to go online and collaboratively rewrite seven of the field manuals that give instructions on all aspects of Army life.

The program uses the same software behind the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and could potentially lead to hundreds of Army guides being wikified. The goal, say the officers behind the effort, is to tap more experience and advice from battle-tested soldiers rather than relying on the specialists within the Armys array of colleges and research centers who have traditionally written the manuals.

For a couple hundred years, the Army has been writing doctrine in a particular way, and for a couple months, we have been doing it online in this wiki, said Col. Charles J. Burnett, the director of the Armys Battle Command Knowledge System. The only ones who could write doctrine were the select few. Now, imagine the challenge in accepting that anybody can go on the wiki and make a change that is a big challenge, culturally.

And from Defense Tech's front page (virtually) on July 15 (nearly a month before the Times):

In a conversation today with Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the head of the Army's Combined Arms Center in Leavenworth, Kans., we learned that the Army is getting all Wiki on us.

Basically Caldwell is embracing the Web 2.0 phenomenon of making reference material available online in an easily updatable fashion by creating so-called Wiki pages based on the popular Wikipedia online reference source.

Back at my old paper we used to whine and moan when the Times or the Post ran a story we'd reported months ago. The line went "it isn't news unless it's in the Times or Post or AP..." Well, I'm not going to engage in such childish behavior. I will say, however, that this does in some way illustrate the idea that blogs and online media are becoming far more agile and newsworthy than they once were. And it's also a tribute to the new media center at the Pentagon which has gone to great lengths to arrange interviews for bloggers on a diverse range of subjects often long before they're noticed by the MSM.

So bravo to us and naaa naaa na na naaa to the Times (see, no childishness)...

-- Christian

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