At first, they pitched a story. They’re journalists, after all. And they wanted to look into Wikipedia. It was March, Rob Ford was still in the running for Toronto’s mayor, and they wanted to uncover the edit wars happening back and forth between campaigns.
But the whole purpose of the Center for Investigative Reporting’s TechRaking event is to bring a new perspective to journalism, and the product developers there pushed back at Luke Simcoe, a data journalist at Metro News Canada, and the rest of the digital team. What if instead of creating a story, they made a product so people could find the answers for themselves?
The result, after Metro’s pitch was picked and the team worked with product developers from The Working Group, is something that does just that, in beta for now — WikiWash. It’s pretty simple, too. Plug in a Wikipedia URL on a topic, then hit “wash.” You’ll see edits as they happen, the 50 most recent edits, plus you can click on the usernames of those editors and see what else they’ve been up to. Read more