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MSU's Great Lakes Wiki receives national recognition

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Michigan State University experiment in environmental reporting is among the projects recently recognized by a national competition for cutting-edge journalism.

Judges of the Knight-Batten Awards recognized MSU's Great Lakes Wiki "for collecting information as broad and deep as the Great Lakes it covers." The awards spotlight the creative use of new information ideas and technologies involving citizens in public issues. Only 10 of the 133 entries were honored.

The Great Lakes Wiki, at GreatLakesWiki.org, is a collaborative effort housed in MSU's College of Communication Arts and Sciences. It was created in a citizen journalism class taught by David Poulson, associate director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, and Cliff Lampe, assistant professor in the MSU Department of Telecommunications, Information Studies and Media.

"Its strength is that it allows readers to come at environmental information from diverse points of view," Poulson said. “It’s a great place for students to publish experimental forms of journalism.”

he site helps citizens, students, policymakers, scientists, artists, business operators and others collaboratively publish news and information about the ecology, culture, economy, recreation and other aspects of a region with nearly 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water.

The site was among four projects that judges cited in a new honorable mention category. They said the project "has the categories, content and organization that made this wiki the best of those entered."

Some examples of the site’s diverse topics include articles about Chicago's Cool Globes public art project, where artists discuss climate change, and a story about the song "I've Got the Round Goby Blues," written and sung by the scientist who discovered that this voracious fish had entered the Great Lakes.

The selected projects were recently presented at a symposium, "Creativity Unleashed," at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

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