Posted on Feb 15, 2012
The Public Relations Society of America is currently conducting a survey regarding Wikipedia and public relations. The national organization is calling for all members to participate regarding the role of PR practitioners and engaging in Wikipedia. Per the note from Gerard Corbett, PRSA CEO and Chair:
I am writing you today to provide information on a matter of importance to every PRSA member. PRSA has been engaging in a series of discussions regarding the proper role of public relations professionals in editing entries on Wikipedia, the self-described “free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” Given that Wikipedia is one of the most widely used information resources in the world, we believe it is important that our members are made aware of this ongoing debate.
Marcia DiStaso, co-chair of PRSA’s National Research Committee, has developed a survey that examines the profession’s experiences with Wikipedia. You can take the survey here.
We encourage you to send this survey to members of your Chapter, Section or Committee and ask them to take a few minutes to answer the questions. Please also post it to your website, LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages and other forums.
We believe that PR professionals should engage with Wikipedia in a responsible manner that respects the community’s rules and protocols, while also ensuring they act in their clients’ best interests. But the engagement must be a two-way street in which Wikipedia is willing to see and accommodate both sides of the issue.
We have made this position clear in a variety of forums. Recently, I wrote an op-ed for technology news publication, Techdirt, in which I made the case the for PR professionals editing Wikipedia. We have also provided the profession’s perspective in PRWeek, The Financial Times and through a special Facebook group dedicated to this discussion