Wikinews: The unsung news source

240px-Wikinews-logo Anytime I want to look up a wikipedia article, I usually just Google it…or more recently, Bing it. Yesterday, I decided to go to Wikipedia’s home page, to see what’s new. I noticed something I was seeing for the first time – wikinews.

Wikinews? Ok from my knowledge of wikis, I should believe this “wikinews” is user-generated. I don’t know what surprised me the most. The fact that a user-generated news site exists, or the fact that users actually ‘generate’ news on this news site. I fired up TwitterFox and posted this “and how exactly does wikinews work” hoping someone would be kind enough to explain. A little over 2 hours later, the official English Twitter account for Wikinews responded and the following conversation started.

@en_wikinews: Wikinews works much like any other wiki. Collaborative journalism min this case. Plus we add an editorial review before publishing.
@xolubi: I’m surprised people actually submit news stories. And on time too.
@en_wikinews: We do have a policy about stale news. Many people contribute to Wikinews because they want to help provide Totally Free News.
@xolubi: How do you handle cases where news is submitted without the ‘actual’ source getting proper credit?
@en_wikinews: In order for news to be published on Wikinews, it must go through a 5 point independent review. Part of which is a copyvio check. (copyvio is short for copyright violation).
@xolubi: Care to share what this 5-point independent review comprises of?
@xolubi: Here’s hoping you don’t mind my questions.
@en_wikinews: Don’t mind at all, happy to explain. Wiki’s are open to all. The review process is documented in a template:
@xolubi: Ok. Noticed a “post your opinion” link but no opinions posted yet. What will you say about traffic and how people see it as a news source?
@en_wikinews: There are “Opinion” pages for each article, welcoming comments from readers. Some articles get many comments
@en_wikinews: As for traffic/news source: We’re not the biggest, but we’ve got a following. In July we had 5.9m page views
@xolubi: On a side note, look like wikinews has a URL shortener (from your tweets). Is it open to the public or for internal use only?
@en_wikinews: It is open to the public, but for WMF url’s only: – The instructions/interface are a work in progress. (I’m sure WMF is short for Wikimedia Foundation)

Whew! Sounds interesting to know a “user-contributed” news source exists and that it is actually active. I’m certain that as more people embrace it, the contributing community will grow and Wikinews will be inching a step closer to being a de facto news source. I may be wrong, but don’t say I didn’t say it. :)

And yes. We have yet another URL Shortner. Altho this works much like Digg’s or Stumble Upon’s in the sense that its specialized.

Now Playing: Linkin Park – Bleed it out

5 thoughts on “Wikinews: The unsung news source”

    1. Apparently, britannica/encarta/etc had no hope watsoever. Gone are the days when people are patient to wait a year for the next edition of an encyclopaedia.

  1. Yes. WMF stands for Wikimedia Foundation. The reason we started the was for use on feeding twitter/identica. Twitterfeed was too slow for our purposes. The current solution still has some lag to it, but it’s not bad.

    Only recently have I made it accessible to the public for bookmarking URL’s, on request of the community. I’ve been slacking off on making it easier for others to use, but at least it works.

    On an unrelated note, we don’t put out a _ton_ of stories a day, but I think things will pick up as more and more “main stream” media goes behind the paywall.

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