Wednesday, June 15, 2005

LA Times to introduce 'wikitorials'

LA Times Editorial Page Editor Andres Martinez recently wrote a letter to readers in which he announced several upcoming changes in the editorial section. There are some interesting ideas, such as allowing members of the editorial board to dissent from an editorial once a year.

But the biggest announcement has to be this:

Watch next week for the introduction of "wikitorials" — an online feature that will empower you to rewrite Los Angeles Times editorials.

Several members of a mailing list about online journalism objected strenuously to this idea. They gave several reasons, including the notion that allowing readers to edit editorials implies that the editorial board lacks the courage of their convictions.

For my part, I think it's brilliant. Newspapers will only improve their dismal public reputation by coming down off their pedestals. Involving readers in both reporting and editing is a key way to do this. Objections to the contrary signify a lack of self confidence, in my opinion. But at this point, how much do they have to lose?