German TV coverage of Wikipedia

On 2004-02-25, 22:50 CET, Wikipedia was featured on Tagesthemen, a late news program on ARD, Germany's first state TV station. About 2.26 million people were watching. That is amazing.[1].

This is a transcript written and translated by presroi and Head.

Ulrich Wickert (anchorman): Every day, we are obliged to learn new words, as there are new situations emerging from the Internet which are demanding a name. One of these new terms is 'wiki': A few years ago, an American founded a web site which gave access to everybody, but made it also possible for everyone to contribute. Instead of the English word "quick" for "quick" [de: schnell], he playfully named the site "wikiwiki", and this led to the adoption of the word "wiki". Now wikis are freely available pages in the Internet which aid to the creation of documents without the requirement to learn a special programming language. Wikipedia is an online lexicon where everybody is allowed to join. It exists in an endless number of languages. The German edition now consists of more than 50,000 entries and today the lexicon reached a 500,000 milestone wordwide. A report by Thomas Schneider:

off: What was this fuss about the red-letter day today again? Every time there is a lexical question, Stefan Kühn is consulting the internet, in particular Wikipedia, the slightly different lexicon. If someone knows anything about the Ash Wednesday which isn't mentioned in the lexicon article yet, he can simply edit it. Wikipedia wants to be fed all the time; honorary; by its users:

Stefan Kühn: We can collect knowledge from people who wouldn't engage in a commercial project. They want to share their knowledge with other people, they want others to learn from their knowledge, from their expertise and their special interests.

off: Over 2000 are doing this right now. There is no leader but only a few moderators. They have to take care that everybody may add his knowledge without fooling around or inform one-sided.

Kurt Jansson: "The most lively discussions concern political topics, where you can also see extreme positions in reality. For example, the is a Arab-Israeli conflict: we know that people really die for certain ideas, so it's no wonder that there are people who discuss energetically about such articles."

off: The grassroots democracy encyclopedia. What Wikipedia fans do for fun, others do to earn money. A professional editorial staff is working on the internet portal They offer encyclopedia articles online as well, but they intend to sell books and CDs afterwards.

Matthias Felsmann, editor-in-chief of "We offer a reliable standard in this jungle, and unlike others, we offer reviewed information, not only comprehensive, but also reviewed information, and I think that's what distinguishes us from enterprises (sic!) like Wikipedia."

off: When Wikipedian Stefan Kühn keeps working on Ash Wednesday, he tries for reliable information as well. But with 2000 hobby contributors, mistakes are inevitable. But these were be corrected very quickly.

Stefan Kühn: "In ten years, we'll have a complete encyclopedia, with entries which are so competent that you won't find something similar elsewhere."

off: But before Wikipedia can take on the established encyclopedias, there are some gap in its knowledge to fill. One of them at the latest until next Ash Wednesday. [screen shows empty editbox of Political Ash Wednesday]

The Video

RTL2 reportEdit