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Wikinews

  1. 1. What is WikiNews? • Free content source • MediaWiki software • Building community
  2. 2. Who is involved? • 4000+ registered users worldwide • 12 languages • From reader , to editor, to wiki-addict…
  3. 3. When did it happen? • Beta November 2004 • Ideal meets Reality & implodes: The tsunami of Dec. 26 • This week, 18 articles per day
  4. 4. Why do people do this? • Covering what interests them • Supporting the community
  5. 5. How is it working? • Typical article: Synthesis – But with references • Original reporting – Mostly local – Photojournalism
  6. 6. Further Questions?
  7. 7. Further Questions?

Editor's Notes

  • How do you like the logo? Not too bad… it only took 3 months of discussions, votes, revotes, disputes, and compromise to come up with a logo. Well, actually, this isn’t the official official logo, but a minor variant.
    I wanted to start with the logo, because how we got the logo is part of what Wikinews is. It starts inside a community, and it builds on compromises and consensus to become what it is becoming.
  • Of course, it doesn’t always get there without a few problems.
  • But the community creates the vision which drives the organization to do things we never thought we could do. The backgrounds and titles I’m using for this presentation are lifted from a discussion about video news.
  • “Wikinews seeks to create a free source of news, where every human being is invited to contribute reports about events large and small, either from direct experience, or summarized from elsewhere.” That’s not just neat rhetoric, that’s one third of our mission statement on meta.
    Wiki is something I’m not really qualified to define, but there’s a great definition on Wikipedia. Wikinews uses the MediaWiki software, which is developed to support the Wikipedia Project. Like Wikipedia, Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.
    The Mediawiki software is a specialized content management system which allows articles to be created and edited online using a simplified markup language. The software is designed not to prevent people from making mistakes, but to make mistakes easy to recover from.
    It also strongly assists the development of a community of people who work together on the project through communication. Wikinews is rapidly developing a community infrastructure to support quick responses to the demands of current news reporting, and the structures for ongoing journalistic endeavors such as accreditation.
  • People from all corners of the Internet are involved in Wikinews. The project currently has editions in 12 languages: Don’t ask me to remember them all. Over the different editions about 4,000 registered users are involved, plus many anonymous users.
    People get involved for a lot of reasons: they’re news junkies, or they are a reader who just has to correct that typo, or maybe they have an article on Wikipedia and they want to have a source which isn’t going to go away to reference current news events. Many reasons, but most of the people on Wikinews are readers first and foremost.
    Finding a typo is rather like a crossword, though. Once you fix something it becomes a challenge to find and fix something else. Soon you’ll find yourself recasting sentences, or paragraphs, starting a news article… and then someone is asking for your opinion on a policy proposal, or for help resolving an issue, or how to use a template. Soon you’re on your way to full-blown wikiaddiction…
  • Wikinews went Beta end of November, and there are still ongoing discussions regarding the status of the project. We don’t know when Wikinews will be out of beta, but there are still several large outstanding issues to determine, such as what license the content will be released under (currently articles are released into the Public Domain.)
    The English edition growth has been pretty steady since November. In December we averaged 2-3 articles per day, and at the end of March the average was 15 per day. There were two language editions of Wikinews initially, German and English, with additional editions begun as they gained communities to support; four were opened in January, four in February, and two in March. Over the past week Wikinews has averaged 18 articles per day.
  • Contributors on Wikinews cover stories which interest them. This is a very subversive paradigm: authors who follow every statistic of baseball have been known to continuously update the baseball scores over the course of the day’s games, others cover news in their neighborhood, or news from places they will never visit – maybe because they will never visit. There may be as many reasons why as there are stories.
    Providing a setting for people to publish news is why other members of the community are involved in maintaining the website. And there is a lot of maintenance involved in tracking all the many topics being reported on, building community consensus on what to do and how, and implementing the goals and interests. Volunteers also police the community, fact checking, examining for NPOV, ethics, and more. I don’t know of a regular contributor who hasn’t had articles edited for bias or other issues.
    It takes a certain level of dedication to know your article will be mercilessly edited, and to still submit it.
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