Submissions:2014/How the PR Industry Views Wikipedia

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Title of the submission
How the PR Industry Views Wikipedia
Themes (Proposal Themes - Community, Tech, Outreach, GLAM, Education)
Type of submission (Presentation Types - Panel, Workshop, Presentation, etc)
Author of the submission
William Beutler
E-mail address
US state or country of origin
Washington, DC; New York City
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
See abstract
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)
For as long as they've been aware of each other, the Wikipedia community and the public relations and marketing (or "marcom") industry have always viewed the other somewhat warily. For volunteer Wikipedians, the goals of PR seems at best an uncomfortable fit with building an encyclopedia. For communications professionals, when Wikipedia gets something wrong, especially about companies, fixing it isn't always so easy.
From the original "Conflict of interest" guideline to the expression of Jimmy Wales' "bright line" recommendation, from attempts at banning paid editing to new efforts to find areas for cooperation, this is also a debate Wikipedia has long had with itself. While community consensus is hard to come by, and often driven by bad news like the revelations about companies such as Bell Pottinger and Wiki-PR, some progress toward understanding has been made in recent years. Controversial as the topic may be, a significant breakthrough is more possible than ever, and if that's to happen, it will begin with conversations like this one.
This panel brings together three individuals: Andrew Lih (American University), Michael Bassik (Burson-Marsteller) and William Beutler (Beutler Ink) sharing their views, respectively as a veteran member and observer of the Wikipedia community, as an executive at a major communications agency, and as someone with a foot planted firmly in both worlds.
During this panel, they will contribute their impressions of how Wikipedia is viewed by those in the PR industry, what events have led to the current circumstances, how Wikipedia's policies and guidelines are interpreted by communications professionals, how journalism plays a large role in shaping the status quo, and how the Wikipedia community might work toward a better situation. In particular, the panelists will recount their views of a roundtable discussion featuring members of both communities, held earlier this year at Donovan House in Washington, DC.
Length of presentation/talk (see Presentation Types for lengths of different presentation types)
Flexible, aiming for 60 minutes including questions, but 75 certainly doable
Will you attend WikiConference USA if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Special request as to time of presentations

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