Using Wikis to Meet Your Editorial Goals
Inbox: How can publishing companies benefit from using editorial wikis?
Manafy: The days of bustling news floors and weekly editorial meetings are becoming a thing of the past. Because of consolidation, the increasing use of remote workers, and the continuing expectation of writers and editors to work on the road, it becomes difficult to share information, not to mention capture it. Whether an organization exists on 20 floors of a New York office tower or a virtual newsroom with writers in their living rooms all over the world, a wiki can offer a way to share frequently-updated information with little or no IT support required. And, along the way, wikis capture all sorts of knowledge about sources, writers, ideas, and more that can be used by members of the team for years to come.
Inbox: What advice would you give publishers that are interested in using wikis?
Manafy: Wikis only work with clear objectives in mind. They are mission-centric. While communities of interest are highly motivated to fill the pages of a public-facing wiki, worker bees have jobs to do and won't fill the wiki for its own sake. The wiki must be an essential part of getting their jobs done. Take the editorial calendar, for example. For my case study editor to know what I've assigned, she needs to look in the wiki. For our editorial assistant to send out publication agreements, she has to go to the wiki. Once it is an ingrained part of doing business, other more creative aspects will emerge.
Find a project and try a wiki. Define something with a clear objective that will be accomplished in the wiki and nowhere else and see if it works for your team. E-mail is overloaded as a collaboration method; it is worth trying a wiki to avoid the inbox glut and to see if you can create a more useful and lasting means of knowledge sharing.