Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF FEB. 02, 2009

Wikipedia tries to step closer to slippery goal: trust in its accuracy

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Newspapers also are convenient, rapidly updated information sources. List advantages that daily papers, their websites and their online archives have over Wikipedia as a reference tool.
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Some useful information in newspapers isn't on Wikipedia and never will be. How many examples can you come up with?
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Even though professional journalists create most newspaper content, users also contribute. Flip to or click on a reader-generated item of interest, or perhaps an area filled with public voices.

As the world's most widely used encyclopedia, Wikipedia has swelled dramatically in size (12 million articles), languages (262) and popularity since going online in 2001. Now administrators of the English language version want to address the biggest hurdle of a reference tool created by users and edited by anyone: Not every "fact" on Wikipedia is true.
For instance, U.S. Sens. Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd are alive -- though Wikipedia entries said otherwise on presidential Inauguration Day last month.

That embarrassment, the most recent in a series of "never mind" corrections, brings a Flagged Revisions proposal to block new and anonymous users from instantly changing entries. Only registered, reliable users could have their material appear immediately for public viewing. Other changes would be held back until a moderators accepts ("flags") the revisions or new articles.
A nonprofit foundation supports Wikipedia, and its board members are considering the restrictions.

Tighter Wikipedia standards benefit anyone who clicks onto Wikipedia for quick research -- including journalists and, hello, students from reading age through post-college graduate school. But the concern behind the proposed tightening is what makes it risky to use for schoolwork. Open access remains the foundation of this 21st century icon, so many teachers and professors discourage or ban use of Wikipedia as an information resource.

Wikipedia acknowledges: "Critics of Wikipedia target its systemic bias and inconsistencies and its policy of favoring consensus over credentials. . . . Reliability and accuracy are also an issue. Other criticisms are centered on its susceptibility to vandalism and the addition of spurious or unverified information." -- Wikipedia article about itself

Journalist says: " I don't expect 100 percent accuracy from a Wikipedia page. I want a quick and rough introduction to whatever it is I happen to be searching for. Like most people, I apply common sense to what I find." -- Shane Richmond, technology columnist, The Telegraph (London, UK)

What's ahead: "At this stage, it appears the majority of the community are behind this decision. As that discussion unfolds, we'll have a better sense of the timing." -- Jay Walsh, Wikimedia Foundation spokesman

Front Page Talking Points is written by Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
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