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Wikinews

Wikinews

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Wikinews is a free-content
Free content
Free content, or free information, is any kind of functional work, artwork, or other creative content that meets the definition of a free cultural work...

 news source wiki
Wiki
A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include...

 and a project of the Wikimedia Foundation. The site works through collaborative journalism
Collaborative journalism
Collaborative journalism is a mode of journalism where multiple reporters or news organizations, without affiliation to a common parent organization, report on and contribute news items to a news story together...

. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Donal "Jimbo" Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur best known as a co-founder and promoter of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia and the Wikia company....

 has distinguished Wikinews from Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 20 million articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,...

 by saying "on Wikinews, each story is to be written as a news story as opposed to an encyclopedia article."
The neutral point of view
Objectivity (journalism)
Parent article: Journalism ethics and standardsObjectivity is a significant principle of journalistic professionalism. Journalistic objectivity can refer to fairness, disinterestedness, factuality, and nonpartisanship, but most often encompasses all of these qualities.- Definitions :In the context...

 policy espoused in Wikinews distinguishes it from other citizen journalism
Citizen journalism
Citizen journalism is the concept of members of the public "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information," according to the seminal 2003 report We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information...

 efforts such as Indymedia and OhmyNews
OhmyNews
OhmyNews is a South Korean online newspaper website with the motto "Every Citizen is a Reporter". It was founded by Oh Yeon Ho on February 22, 2000....

. In contrast to most projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikinews allows original work under the form of original reporting and interviews. The English Wikinews is the only Wikimedia site that grants press pass
Press pass
A press pass grants some type of special privilege to journalists. Some cards have recognized legal status; others merely indicate that the bearer is a practicing journalist...

es to reporters endorsed by the local community. According to Thelwall et al., Wikinews has been most successful in covering large news events involving large numbers of people, such as Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

 and the Virginia Tech Shootings, where first hand experience, or the availability of first hand accounts, forms a larger part of the entry, and where the wealth of reportage makes a central "clearing house" valuable.

History


The first recorded proposal of a Wikimedia news site was a two-line anonymous post
Anonymous post
An anonymous post is an entry on a bulletin board system, Internet forum or message board, blog, or other discussion forum without a screen name or more commonly by using a non-identifiable pseudonym....

 on January 5, 2003, on Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 20 million articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,...

 community's Meta-Wiki. Daniel Alston, who edited Wikipedia as Fonzy, claimed to have been the one who posted it. The proposal was then further developed by German freelance journalist, software developer and author Erik Möller
Erik Möller
Erik Möller is a German freelance journalist, software developer, author, and Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation , based in San Francisco, California...

. Early opposition from long-time Wikipedia contributors, many of them pointing out the existence of Wikipedia's own news summaries, gave way to detailed discussions and proposals about how it could be implemented as a new project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

In November 2004, a demonstration
Technology demo
A tech demo is a prototype, rough example or an otherwise incomplete version of a product, put together with the primary purpose of showcasing the idea, performance, method or the features of the product...

 wiki was established to show how such a collaborative news site might work. , the site was moved out of the "demo" stage and into the beta stage. A German language
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 edition was launched at the same time. Soon editions in Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

, Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

, Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

, Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

, Ukrainian
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

, Serbian
Serbian language
Serbian is a form of Serbo-Croatian, a South Slavic language, spoken by Serbs in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and neighbouring countries....

, Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

, Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, Thai
Thai language
Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

, Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

, Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

, Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

, Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

, Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Esperanto
Esperanto
is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Its name derives from Doktoro Esperanto , the pseudonym under which L. L. Zamenhof published the first book detailing Esperanto, the Unua Libro, in 1887...

, Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 and Albanian
Albanian language
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by approximately 7.6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Balkans in which there is an Albanian population, including western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, southern Serbia and northwestern Greece...

 (in that chronological order) were set up.

On March 13, 2005, the English edition of Wikinews reached 1,000 news articles. Just a few months later in September 2005, the project moved to the Creative Commons
Creative Commons
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization headquartered in Mountain View, California, United States devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses known as Creative Commons...

 Attribution 2.5 license.

On April 29, 2006, the English edition of Wikinews reached 5,000 news articles. On September 5, 2007, just over a year later, the English edition of Wikinews reached 10,000 news articles.

In September, 2011, a large part of the Wikinews user base announced that they were dissatisfied with the site and created a fork called TheOpenGlobe.org.

Additional projects


While Wikinews focuses primarily on text articles, members are expanding the site into other media. These projects include Audio Wikinews, which delivers Ogg Vorbis audio files, Wikinews Video 2.0 (test phase) and Wikinews Print edition, which is a daily edition intended to be printed.

On April 28, 2008 Wikinews also started the plans for Wikimedia Radio which is aimed at a 24/7 streaming audio broadcast of various programs and news, mainly from participating Wikimedia projects.

Interviews


Wikinews reporters have conducted interviews with several notable people. In December 2007, Wikinews interviewed Israeli President and Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 recipient Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

. Some other notable interviews have included writers, actors and politicians, such as Augusten Burroughs
Augusten Burroughs
Augusten Xon Burroughs is an American writer known for his New York Times bestselling memoir Running with Scissors .- Life :...

, 2008 Republican nomination hopefuls and independent/third party candidates for President, Tony Benn
Tony Benn
Anthony Neil Wedgwood "Tony" Benn, PC is a British Labour Party politician and a former MP and Cabinet Minister.His successful campaign to renounce his hereditary peerage was instrumental in the creation of the Peerage Act 1963...

, Eric Bogosian
Eric Bogosian
Eric Bogosian is an American actor, playwright, monologist, and novelist of Armenian descent.-Personal life:Bogosian, an Armenian-American, was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, the son of Edwina, a hairdresser and instructor, and Henry Bogosian, an accountant. After graduating from Oberlin College,...

, Nick Smith
Nick Smith (New Zealand)
Nicolas Rex "Nick" Smith is a New Zealand politician and a member of the New Zealand Parliament as a National Party MP...

 and John Key
John Key
John Phillip Key is the 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand, in office since 2008. He has led the New Zealand National Party since 2006....

, and World Wide Web co-inventor Robert Cailliau
Robert Cailliau
Robert Cailliau , born 26 January 1947, is a Belgian informatics engineer and computer scientist who, together with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, developed the World Wide Web.-Biography:...

.

Criticism


As stated above, many Wikinews users are disappointed with the management of the website, leading to the creation of a fork.

Like Wikipedia (see Reliability of Wikipedia
Reliability of Wikipedia
The reliability of Wikipedia , compared to other encyclopedias and more specialized sources, is assessed in many ways, including statistically, through comparative review, analysis of the historical patterns, and strengths and weaknesses inherent in the editing process unique to Wikipedia.Several...

), Wikinews is criticized for its perceived inability to be neutral or include only verified and true information. Robert McHenry
Robert McHenry
Robert Dale McHenry is an American editor, encyclopedist, and writer. McHenry worked from 1967 for Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. or associated companies, becoming editor-in-chief of the Encyclopædia Britannica in 1992, a position he held until 1997...

, former editor-in-chief of the Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

 criticized the credibility of the project:
McHenry was skeptical about Wikinews' ability to provide a neutral point of view and its claim to be evenhanded: "The naïveté is stunning."

In a 2007 interview Sue Gardner
Sue Gardner
Sue Gardner is the current Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation in San Francisco, and previous director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's website and online news outlets.- Life and journalism career :...

, at that time a special adviser to the board of the Wikimedia Foundation and former head of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

's Internet division, CBC.ca, dismissed McHenry's comment, stating "Journalism is not a profession ... at its heart, it's just a craft. And that means that it can be practiced by anyone who is sensible and intelligent and thoughtful and curious ... I go back to the morning of Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech massacre
The Virginia Tech massacre was a school shooting that took place on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. In two separate attacks, approximately two hours apart, the perpetrator, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people...

 – the morning I decided I wanted to work here [WMF]. The conversation on the talk page that day was extremely thoughtful. I remember thinking to myself that if my own newsroom had been having a conversation that intelligent (I was offsite that day) I would have been delighted. So yes, [in my opinion] you absolutely have proved Robert McHenry wrong. And you will continue to."

Wikinews has also had issues with maintaining a separate identity from Wikipedia, which also covers major news events in real-time. Columnist Jonathan Dee
Jonathan Dee
Jonathan Dee is an American novelist and non-fiction writer. His fifth novel, “The Privileges”, was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.-Life:...

 of The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 pointed out in 2007 that "So indistinct has the line between past and present become that Wikipedia has inadvertently all but strangled one of its sister projects, the three-year-old Wikinews... [Wikinews] has sunk into a kind of torpor; lately it generates just 8 to 10 articles a day... On bigger stories there's just no point in competing with the ruthless purview of the encyclopedia." Andrew Lih
Andrew Lih
Andrew Lih is a new media researcher, consultant and writer, as well as a noted authority on both Wikipedia and internet censorship in the People's Republic of China. He is currently a visiting professor at the University of Southern California....

 and Zachary M. Seward commented on the continuing issue in a 2010 piece in the Nieman Journalism Lab
Nieman Foundation for Journalism
The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University is the primary journalism institution at Harvard. It was founded in 1938 as the result of a $1 million bequest by Agnes Wahl Nieman, the widow of Lucius W. Nieman, founder of The Milwaukee Journal...

, "Why Wikipedia beats Wikinews as a collaborative journalism project." Lih wrote "it's not clear that the wiki
Wiki
A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include...

 process really gears itself towards deadlines and group narrative writing" and that "if you're trying to write something approaching a feature piece, it's much harder to get more than two or three people to stay consistent with the style." Lih considers Wikipedia's stricter "formula" for article composition an advantage in a large wiki with many editors.

External links