Wikinews is a free-content news source wiki and a project of the Wikimedia Foundation. Jimmy Wales has distinguished Wikinews from Wikipedia by saying "on Wikinews, each story is to be written as a news story as opposed to an encyclopedia article."[1] The neutral point of view policy implemented in Wikinews distinguishes it from other citizen journalism efforts such as Indymedia and OhmyNews.[2] In contrast to most projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikinews allows original work under the form of original reporting and interviews.[3]The English Wikinews is the only Wikimedia site that grants press passes to reporters endorsed by the local community.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

Template:Wikinewspar In January 2003, a two-line proposal under the title Wikews was created on the Wikipedia community's Metawiki via an anonymous post by Daniel Alston. He was not involved in the development of the project, and the proposal was redeveloped by German freelance journalist, software developer and author Erik Möller. The proposal suggested the creation of a sister project covering "news on a wide variety of subjects, unbiased and in detail".[5] 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.

File:Wikinews logo.png

The beta version logo, used until February 13, 2005

In November 2004, a demonstration wiki was established to show how such a collaborative news site might work. In December 2004, the site was moved out of the "demo" stage and into the beta stage. A German language edition was launched at the same time. Soon editions in Italian, Dutch, French, Spanish, Swedish, Bulgarian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Japanese, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, Norwegian, and Chinese (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 Attribution 2.5 license.[6]

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.

Additional projects[edit | edit source]

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. [7]

Interviews[edit | edit source]

Wikinews reporters have conducted interviews with several notable people. The site reached a milestone when it became what is believed to be the first citizen journalism news site to interview a sitting head of state. In December Wikinews interviewed Israeli President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shimon Peres.[8] Some other notable interviews have included writers, actors and politicians, such as Augusten Burroughs[9], three U.S. Presidential candidates, Tony Benn, Eric Bogosian, Nick Smith and John Keys, and world wide web co-inventor Robert Cailliau.[8]

Criticism[edit | edit source]

Like Wikipedia (see Criticism of Wikipedia), Wikinews is criticized for its perceived inability to be neutral or include only verified and true information. Robert McHenry, former editor-in-chief of the Encyclopædia Britannica 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 naivete is stunning," he said.Template:Cite this quote

In a 2007 interview Sue Gardner, at that time a special adviser to the board of the Wikimedia Foundation and former head of the Canadian Broadcasting Company's Internet division,, 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 - 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."[10]

Wikinews has also had issues with maintaining a separate identity from Wikipedia, which also covers major news events in real-time. Columnist Jonathan Dee of The New York Times has pointed out 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."[11]

References[edit | edit source]


External links[edit | edit source]

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