Bad PR move for museum

By Joseph Barratt

Dr Vanda Vitali. Photo / Supplied
Dr Vanda Vitali. Photo / Supplied

Auckland Museum's head of public relations has written a glowing Wikipedia entry for his under-fire boss during business hours.

Russell Briggs omitted the controversy that has plagued Dr Vanda Vitali's tenure as director of Auckland Museum.

His entry appears to breach Wikipedia's guidelines, which state that entries should be unbiased and balanced.

"Wikipedia is not a soapbox, an advertising platform, a vanity press," the website states. "Self-promotion, paid material, autobiography, and product placement are not valid routes to an encyclopedia article."

Briggs defended his entry: "I don't exactly understand why you think it would be appropriate to put that [controversy] on a Wikipedia page that is a biographical sketch of a museum director," he said. "That doesn't make any sense to me at all."

Vitali has been in the headline several times since her appointment in 2007.

She oversaw restructuring that led to the loss of 46 jobs, and rejected a memorial sculpture for which World War II Bomber Command veterans raised $100,000. She was also involved in a public spat with Sir Edmund Hillary's children.

David Farrar, a director of Internet New Zealand, said the entry went against the spirit of Wikipedia.

"People contribute to Wikipedia pretty much out of a love for Wikipedia and because they want to add info to it," he said.

- Herald on Sunday

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