As time has shifted, The Times and all the other media outlets recognize how important Wikipedia is. It's not the same hurdle anymore. I don't have to sort of say: 'Wow look at this strange thing going on, can I write some weird story about it?' Instead it's like: 'This is hugely important, and of course, write, we want to know every change.'
If someone today had the Pentagon Papers, or the modern equivalent, would he still go to the press, as Daniel Ellsberg did nearly 40 years ago, and wait for the documents to be analyzed and published? Or would that person simply post them online immediately?
An engineering degree is also no longer a requisite to using technology, as seemingly anyone today can install a printer or upload a video. Similarly, another signifier of nerd status — knowing obscure facts about favorite subjects — has also lost its currency.
As a fresh wave of Ebola fear grips the American public, the Internet is rife with conspiracy theories, supposed miracle cures and Twitter posts of dread. But amid the fear mongering are several influential sites that are sticking to the facts about Ebola. Millions have come to rely on these sites, including those run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and Wikipedia.
Once the butt of jokes for being the site where visitors could find anything, true or not, Wikipedia in recent years has become a more trusted source of information — certainly for settling bar bets, but even for weighty topics like Ebola.