Friday, 7 July 2017


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The WikiTribune logo: The letter W and 'tribune' are capitalised.
Type of site
Available inEnglish
OwnerJimmy Wales
Launched25 April 2017 (2 months ago) (2017-04-25)
Content licence
Creative Commons Attribution[2]
WikiTribune (stylized as WikiTRIBUNE) is a planned news website in which professional journalists research and report news stories alongside volunteers who curate articles by proofreading, fact-checking, suggesting changes and adding sources. Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, announced the site in April 2017 as a for-profit site, not affiliated with Wikipedia or its support organisation, the Wikimedia Foundation.[3][4][5]
"This will be the first time that professional journalists and citizen journalists will work side-by-side as equals writing stories as they happen, editing them live as they develop and at all times backed by a community checking and rechecking all facts", said Wales.[6] Wales intends for the project to help fight fake news online; he was reportedly motivated to address this problem after hearing the Counselor to the U.S. president, Kellyanne Conway, use the expression "alternative facts" during an interview in January 2017.[3][7]
Initial crowdfunding for the site was completed in May 2017. Operations are not expected to begin before September 2017.[8]

Business model[edit]

The venture was launched by Jimmy Wales who is expected to have a "hands-on" role as chief executive.[9][10]
WikiTribune is a for-profit site[5] that will be funded by donors; the more funds they raise, the more journalists they can employ.[11] Crowdfunding opened on 25 April 2017.[12] Supporters are being asked to pay £10 or $15 per month,[13] but access to the news will be free.[12] It has been stated that having no shareholders, advertisers or subscribers will reduce commercial pressures and that paying members will be able to suggest topics.[6] Supporters who donate to the site will also help decide which subjects the site will focus on.[3]
Journalists will need to provide the source of a fact or provide full transcripts and recordings of interviews.[11] The public will be able to modify and update articles; however, the update will only go live once approved by staff or trusted volunteers.[3][11]

Staff and structure[edit]

The initial software platform for the site is planned to be a customised version of WordPress.[14] Wales' company Jimmy Group, which he incorporated earlier in April 2017, has filed a trademark request for "WIKITRIBUNE" with the Intellectual Property Office, which was examining the request as of 25 April 2017.[15]
People named as involved in the project as advisors to Jimmy Wales include Lily Cole, Jeff Jarvis, Guy Kawasaki, and Lawrence Lessig.[11] Funding for seven of the ten planned journalists was secured within three weeks of the launch and they were then recruited, starting with Holly Brockwell.[16][17] The initial target of funding for ten journalists was then achieved on the final day of the one-month crowd-funding appeal. An additional $100,000 of matching support from Craig Newmark's News Integrity Initiative was also expected.[18]
In a Medium post published at the end of May 2017, WikiTribune announced that it had met its funding goal, but would not start operations until later that year: "Despite lots of confused comments, the end of the crowdfunding campaign doesn't mean an instantaneous launch. It means we've got enough support to start making the project happen, which involves hiring for, designing and building WikiTribune from scratch. ... We don’t have an exact date, but we're aiming to be up and running – that means producing content – by Autumn this year. We’ll do it faster if we can, but only if we can do it right."[8]


Adrienne LaFrance reviewed the proposal in The Atlantic. She had previously worked at the Honolulu Civil Beat, which was founded by Pierre Omidyar with similar ideas of "peer news". From this experience, she thought that the stated plan was over-ambitious as a staff of ten would be insufficient to cover global news stories and managing volunteer input would be time-consuming.[19]
Andrew Lih, a researcher at the American University's school of communication, expected WikiTribune's hybrid approach to be more successful than the volunteer-only model of Wikinews,[20] "You have an operational command structure that’s based on full-time staff. The pro journalists and editors provide the supervision on how the story moves forward. The crowd does the heavy lifting on a lot of the combing, sifting, searching, checking. You let the crowd do what the crowd is good at."
Sarah Baxter, the deputy editor of the Sunday Times, addressed WikiTribune in the newspaper on 30 April 2017 in an article titled "Wikipedia won't break real news, just tweak it". After critical remarks on the reliability of Wikipedia, she concluded: "It's the warp and weft of debate in the free press, whether digital or print, that gets to the heart of the truth, not the wacky wisdom of self-appointed crowds."[21]
Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, reviewed coverage of the project four days after the initial announcement. She said that there was considerable scepticism which was apparent in an Ask Me Anything session held by Wales. She thought that WikiTribune would duplicate work which was already being done and gave examples such as David Fahrenthold's Pulitzer prize-winning coverage of the United States presidential election for the Washington Post, during which he used Twitter to engage with the public.[22]
Zahera Harb, a lecturer in journalism at City, University of London, questioned the site's reliance on unpaid volunteers, saying, "I see a model closer to 'exploitation' than anything else." She also wrote that the site would be susceptible to error and bias: "In this system, we will encounter mistakes similar to those we have been seeing in Wikipedia. Those mistakes tend to cause the same harm as fake news. ... Meddling with Wikipedia accounts has become a tool in media wars between political and economic rivals and also between countries that are in conflict over territory or that have conflicting historical narratives."[23]
Staff at a media law firm, Hogan Lovells, speculated whether the proposed collaborative model of journalism would provide sufficient protection against the English Defamation Act 2013 and concluded that the matter was not certain in law and so would depend upon the outcome of future court actions.[24]

See also[edit]

Other comparable news sites


  1. Jump up ^ Jimmy Wales, on Wikipedia
  2. Jump up ^ Evidence-based journalism, Wikitribune, 2017, Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution License 
  3. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e Hern, Alex (25 April 2017). "Wikipedia founder to fight fake news with new Wikitribune site". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  4. Jump up ^ Collins, Terry (24 April 2017). "Wikipedia co-founder launches project to fight fake news". CNET. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  5. ^ Jump up to: a b Laura Hazard Owen (4 May 2017), Jimmy Wales on Wikitribune’s business model and why it might cover not just politics but also dog breeding, NiemanLab 
  6. ^ Jump up to: a b "Wikipedia launches news website to combat the rise of ‘alternative facts’". News Limited. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  7. Jump up ^ Greg Williams interviewing Jimmy Wales (24 April 2017), "Jimmy Wales goes after fake news with Wikitribune – a crowdfunded site for reporters", Wired 
  8. ^ Jump up to: a b Mandese, Joe (31 May 2017). "WikiTribune Meets Funding Goal: What's Next?, More Funding". MediaPost Communications. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  9. Jump up ^ Rhiannon Williams (25 April 2017), "Wikitribune: How Wikipedia’s news website will work – in theory", i 
  10. Jump up ^ Christopher Williams (25 April 2017), "Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales exits Guardian board over conflict of interest with Wikitribune news site", Daily Telegraph 
  11. ^ Jump up to: a b c d "Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales creates news service Wikitribune". BBC News. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  12. ^ Jump up to: a b "Jimmy Wales to Launch Crowdfunded News Site Wikitribune to Fight 'Alternative Facts'". 25 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  13. ^ Jump up to: a b Bond, David (25 April 2017). "Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales to set up global news website". Financial Times. 
  14. Jump up ^ Jimmy Wales (4 May 2017), Does WikiTribune use proprietary Wiki software similar to sites such as Everipedia, or does it use MediaWiki like Wikipedia? 
  15. Jump up ^ Fiveash, Kelly (25 April 2017). "Wikitribune is Jimmy Wales’ attempt to wage war on fake news". Ars Technica. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  16. Jump up ^ Stephen Lepitak (7 May 2017), "Gadgette's Holly Brockwell joins Jimmy Wales' Wikitribune", The Drum 
  17. Jump up ^ Arjun Kharpal (19 May 2017), The Daily Mail has 'mastered the art of running stories that aren't true', Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says, CNBC 
  18. Jump up ^ It’s the final countdown, Medium, 24 May 2017 
  19. Jump up ^ Adrienne LaFrance (25 April 2017), "The Problem With WikiTribune", The Atlantic 
  20. Jump up ^ Laura Hazard Owen (24 April 2017), Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales launches Wikitribune, a large-scale attempt to combat fake news, Nieman Lab 
  21. Jump up ^ "Wikipedia won't break real news, just tweak it". Sunday Times. 30 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017. 
  22. Jump up ^ Emily Bell (30 April 2017), "Wikitribune venture will not address journalism's underlying issues", The Guardian 
  23. Jump up ^ Zaheera Harb (3 May 2017), "Can Wikitribune combat fake news?", Al Jazeera 
  24. Jump up ^ Brasted, Eriksson and Coleman (24 May 2017), Wikitribune and broken news, Hogan Lovells 
  25. Jump up ^ Lukas Keller (25 April 2017), Jimmy Wales gründet ein Wikipedia für Journalismus, Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen 
  26. Jump up ^ Jane Singer (27 April 2017), Jimmy Wales is betting crowd-sourced news can restore our trust in the media, City, University of London 
  27. Jump up ^ Woody Evans. "Wikitribune sets out to practice evidence-based journalism". Retrieved 30 May 2017. 

External links[edit]

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