Building a bridge between PR and WikipediaBy Jeremy Rosenberg
Wikipedia represents both a tremendous opportunity and, at times, a huge challenge for our clients and fellow agencies alike. Over the years, there have been abuses which caused strife between the community of editors/contributors and professional communicators. In an attempt to repair this troubled relationship, a coordinated effort between agencies and members of the Wikipedia community has been underway for the past several months.
Today, Allison+Partners is proud to join our peers in publicly committing to a set of principles that bind us to transparency, open communications and best practices when engaging on Wikipedia. Our dedication to this important endeavor is reflected in this joint statement released to the community today. This represents the first step in building a bridge which we believe will ultimately benefit the Wikipedia community, the public at large, as well as communications professionals and the clients we represent.
The statement along with a list of all the participating parties is below:
Statement on Wikipedia from participating communications firms
On behalf of our firms, we recognize Wikipedia’s unique and important role as a public knowledge resource. We also acknowledge that the prior actions of some in our industry have led to a challenging relationship with the community of Wikipedia editors.
Our firms believe that it is in the best interest of our industry, and Wikipedia users at large, that Wikipedia fulfill its mission of developing an accurate and objective online encyclopedia. Therefore, it is wise for communications professionals to follow Wikipedia policies as part of ethical engagement practices.
We therefore publicly state and commit, on behalf of our respective firms, to the best of our ability, to abide by the following principles:
- To seek to better understand the fundamental principles guiding Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.
- To act in accordance with Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines, particularly those related to “conflict of interest.”
- To the extent we become aware of potential violations of Wikipedia policies by our respective firms, to investigate the matter and seek corrective action, as appropriate and consistent with our policies.
- Beyond our own firms, to take steps to publicize our views and counsel our clients and peers to conduct themselves accordingly.
We also seek opportunities for a productive and transparent dialogue with Wikipedia editors, inasmuch as we can provide accurate, up-to-date, and verifiable information that helps Wikipedia better achieve its goals.
A significant improvement in relations between our two communities may not occur quickly or easily, but it is our intention to do what we can to create a long-term positive change and contribute toward Wikipedia’s continued success.
Participating firms and their representatives, as of June 10, 2014:
- Beutler Ink (William Beutler)
- Ogilvy & Mather (Marshall Manson)
- FleishmanHillard (Sam Huxley)
- Peppercomm (Sam Ford)
- Burson-Marsteller (Patrick Kerley)
- Ketchum (Tim Weinheimer)
- Porter Novelli (Dave Coustan)
- Voce Communications (Dave Coustan)
- Edelman (Phil Gomes)
- Allison+Partners (Jeremy Rosenberg)
- MDC Partners (Michael Bassik)