Welcome to Wikinews

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Getting started as a contributor
How to write an article
  1. Pick something current?
  2. Use two independent sources?
  3. Read your sources before writing the story in your own words?. Do choose a unique title? before you start.
  4. Follow Wikinews' structure? for articles, answering as many of who what when where why and how? as you can; summarised in a short, two- or three-sentence opening paragraph. Once complete, your article must be three or more paragraphs.
  5. If you need help, you can add {{helpme}} to your talkpage, along with a question, or alternatively, just ask?

  • Use this tab to enter your title and get a basic article template.
    [RECOMMENDED. Starts your article through the semi-automated {{develop}}—>{{review}}—>{{publish}} collaboration process.]

 Welcome, SarahStierch! Thank you for joining Wikinews; we'd love for you to stick around and get more involved. To help you get started we have an essay that will guide you through the process of writing your first full article. There are many other things you can do on the project, but its lifeblood is new, current, stories written neutrally.
As you get more involved, you will need to look into key project policies and other discussions you can participate in; so, keep this message on this page and refer to the other links in it when you want to learn more, or have any problems.

Wikipedia's puzzle-globe logo, © Wikimedia Foundation
Wikipedia's puzzle-globe logo, © Wikimedia Foundation
  Used to contributing to Wikipedia? See here.
All Wikimedia projects have rules. Here are ours.

Listed here are the official policies of the project, you may be referred to some of them if your early attempts at writing articles don't follow them. Don't let this discourage you, we all had to start somewhere.

The rules and guides laid out here are intended to keep content to high standards and meet certain rules the Wikimedia Foundation applies to all projects. It may seem like a lot to read, but you do not have to go through it all in one sitting, or know them all before you can start contributing.

Remember, you should enjoy contributing to the project. If you're really stuck come chat with the regulars. There's usually someone in chat who will be happy to help, but they may not respond instantly.

The core policies
Places to go, people to meet

Wiki projects work because a sense of community forms around the project. Although writing news is far more individualistic than contributing to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, people often need minor help with things like spelling and copyediting. If a story isn't too old you might be able to expand it, or if it is disputed you may be able to find some more sources and rescue it before it is listed for deletion.

There are always discussions going on about how the site could be improved, and your input is of value. Check the links here to see where you can give input to the running of the Wikinews project.

Find help and get involved
Write your first article for Wikinews!

Use the following box to help you create your first article. Simply type in a title to your story and press "Create page". Then start typing text to your story into the new box that will come up. When you're done, press "save page". That's all there is to it!

It is recommended you read the article guide before starting. Also make sure to check the list of recently created articles to see if your story hasn't already been reported upon.

-- 18:56, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Out of context quote



I've noted your concerns, and raised them on the article's talk page - with what I feel is a more appropriate quote. Whether there's a reasonable reworking will depend on second opinions on this. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:31, 30 June 2011 (UTC)Reply

Because of our "24 hr window" for substantive changes, I've edited in what I believe better-reflects your quoted blog post. I need another independent editor to sight those changes, and hope someone will do so in the very near future.
On a related note, I didn't get along to McEwan hall today, for Irina Bokova getting her Doctor Honoris Causa; as I understand it, MGS have informed her they're ready to work with WM-UK. So, if you know any Wikimedians with an interest in Scottish culture (excluding deep-fried Mars bars), please point them in my direction. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:02, 30 June 2011 (UTC)Reply

Hello Sarah,

Thank you for your message. I see that your concerns have been addressed. Rest assured that I take journalistic integrity seriously, and that I will be reviewing this incident along with other Wikinewsies. I hope that you were able to resolve the issue with your colleagues.

All the best, Ragettho (talk) 04:00, 1 July 2011 (UTC)Reply

Helping Wikipedians transition


Hi Sarah,

We've made something of an effort with Wikinews:For Wikipedians to try and cover the most-common differences from Wikipedia, but could always do with someone more-familiar with Wikipedia picking through this.

Laura Hale just got her first Wikinews article published, so I invited her to write about the experience on the Editors' blog; that's probably worth reading over.

Any advice at-all on making our policy documents more accessible would be welcomed, the assumption that the same Manual of Style as-used on Wikipedia applies here drives the regulars up the wall. ;-) --Brian McNeil / talk 03:21, 2 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

Hi Brian. I actually don't think the policies are as complex as Wikipedias, but, I also had assistance from Tom Morris when I wrote my first article, and honestly, having my "hand held" was more valuable than sitting around and reading policies :) Just having Tom help me with my first article and then further experiences after that (well, today, so far) really was awesome. When I'm done with school (aghh!!! in May, thank god) I do hope that I'll be able to take my own personal experience with Wikinews further. It'd be cool to develop some "Wikinews news-a-thons" of sorts, and do some collaborative reporting with people (offline and then taking it online). Wikinews is the third sister project I've actually liked participating in (no offense to Wikisource, but, that one will hasn't taken off for me despite contributing a bit), so let me get comfortable and we'll see what I can help with =)

Wow, I just babbled my brains out there. Sorry for this spacey message...I'm not feeling to well today! SarahStierch (talk) 21:27, 24 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

What sort of assistance did Tom Morris provide? --Pi zero (talk) 15:29, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
He inspired me to participate! He talked about how if anyone had interest in Wikinews (on the gender gap list) that we should talk to him. I started drafting the Wikimania article and told him about it via email and he made some edits, let me know about sources and how it's sort of "self reporting" because it's a Wikimedian writing about Wikimedia. He made me feel welcome, didn't make me feel like crap about any mistakes I made, etc. It's simple things like that, that help. Sarah (talk) 16:09, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
Interesting. We were most interested also in LauraHale's account of her positive first experience at Wikinews, observing the things about it that were in stark contrast to negative accounts given by some Wikipedians. One gathers she caught Wikinews-enthusiasm from Brian McNeil; and then she hung around studying the project and talking with us, and asking intelligent questions, for quite some time before she undertook her first article. --Pi zero (talk) 16:31, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
I have met Brian as well, he's got a lot of passion and energy for the project, obviously. You make it sound like I did something wrong by not "talking" with everyone here. Or perhaps I'm just misreading your comment? :) Sarah (talk) 16:37, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
Not at all. I was more interested in commonalities between you and Laura. In contrast, Wikipedians who have bad experiences here and leave in a huff tend, one gathers, to know of Wikinews beforehand mainly from having heard bad things about it, they come here assuming a news wiki should work the same way as an encyclopedic one, don't ready our policies-and-guidelines, don't ask questions, expect us to apply AGF, and take criticisms of their work personally. I've been thinking a good deal about this lately (e.g. WN:Water cooler/proposals#Wikipedian mindset). --Pi zero (talk) 17:07, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

Hi. Left a note on the article collaboration page. --Pi zero (talk) 18:29, 24 March 2012 (UTC)Reply



Sarah, Nice story on Wikimania 2012, and congratulations on your first story, as well as joining the Wikinews community. I'm trying to organize a reporting team for Wikimania 2012. Let me know if you're interested! Best, Crtew (talk) 21:42, 24 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

Hi! THANKS! It's pretty exciting. I'm on a bit of a high, and awaiting the reviews of other stories now. So this encouragement means a lot. I actually signed up to lend a hand here. SarahStierch (talk) 21:44, 24 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
Yeah!!! It's a Wikinewsie team now! That's great that you might be in Manhattan. I think we can recruit more people between now and then as many people haven't yet considered whether they or going. I want to create a project page to coordinate the coverage. Maybe we can get more than just text and photos out, like some video or audio. Crtew (talk) 13:43, 25 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

Sarah, I added a transitional paragraph to the SD art story because WN has a three paragraph minimum per story. Shorter stories go in those "briefs" format, like this one Wikinews Shorts: March 21, 2012. I really liked your Sqoot story and the reason is that this particular story was not widely seen in the mainstream and you added extra value to the story through your interview and the focus. It's hard for WN to compete with the larger, for profit news agencies on the "breaking news" that require boots on the ground and resources and where there are no Wikinewsies around. What it can do well is strike a new focus out of existing stories based on the Wikinewsie's interest and deliver news that is not seen elsewhere. That and we can pop into places and talk to people that others haven't yet covered. Your interest in women and technology is a nice asset for you to tap in creating new stories here. Keep up the creative and good work! Crtew (talk) 13:39, 25 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

Thanks Crtew. I got a little flustered when my shorter articles were deemed not Wikinews worthy (the 3 paragraph thing must have just breezed by me, as many policies and procedures do for newbies in the wikiworld). I also wondered if there was a brief thing - for someone like me, I wrote about some things that interested me, but they don't interest me enough to expand ;) I was watching TV when the Santorum stuff came up, so I thought "WHOA I'LL REPORT IT," and then was like "Oh, Wikinews won't care." LOL. (Why did I Care? I have no clue, because, I don't, actually.) Long rant shorter - I'll focus on more interesting things and do my best. :) Thanks for the kind words, it really really makes a difference (especially for newbies!!) Sarah (talk) 14:49, 25 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
Sarah, I was just looking at your Wikinews Shorts. The general rule is to use at least two sources per story. You're amazing! I can't believe how many stories you've published in such a short amount of time. Wow!!! Crtew (talk) 04:42, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
Ah, I didn't know it was two. I was following what the person who started the page was doing. But now I know, thanks =) Sarah (talk) 04:49, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply



Some thoughts on "shorts" articles.

  • The date on a published article is when it was published, not when the event took place. I apply the same principle to the headline of a shorts article. When I saw the shorts article you'd been working on had been submitted for review, I figured, well, I'll take a look as soon as I've taken care of a few things irl. But the first thing I'd do, in reviewing it, would have been to rename it to have the correct date. Unfortunately, you've already created a new page with the name it would have to occupy. Although that's a new twist, we've had difficulties in the recent past with coordinating additions to shorts articles. (The shorts format was disused for a long time before being recently resurrected.)
  • Shorts articles are less than ideal to review. The amount of review effort can be quite significant, with all those sources to read and a series of disparate stories to wrap one's head around, while the product is by nature rather shallow. With the effort required to write a large pile of shorts one could surely write a somewhat smaller number of shortish standalone articles, and for review the total effort would be comparable and the logistics far easier (since the entire job wouldn't have to be taken on monolithically).
  • A common theme to both the above items is the awkwardness of collections of shorts. We did have someone a while back trying to figure a way to smooth out workflow for shorts, but honestly Wikinews's merits lie on the quality-rather-than-quantity side of the equation, something we've been able to focus on better since the fork (a silver lining to that cloud).

--Pi zero (talk) 16:49, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

Sounds like I let the inspiration take over and I caused more problems than anything else. Ah well, I'll just focus on other things. Thanks for the info, sorry I screwed up the process regarding shorts! Sarah (talk) 16:53, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
You're enthusiastic and you can write, which might not sound like much, but believe me, it's a welcome combination. There are things you don't know; well, you've been here a few days. I've been here three and a half years and I'm still learning. :-)  --Pi zero (talk) 17:22, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
Ah, thank you =) I actually have a "journalism" background (I wrote for three magazines, a zine, and a free press paper in the Midwest!)...and writing in the fine art world for as long as I have, I guess I can attribute it to that. I did ask a question on the March 25 shorts page..so take a look :D Sarah (talk) 17:24, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
Left a question for you on the article talk.
And I'll try not to hold your "journalism" background against you. :-)  (Slightly inside joke: one of our more difficult contributors in recent memory claimed to have written for a newspaper.) --Pi zero (talk) 17:39, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
The shorts information is good to know. Thanks for clearing that up Pi Crtew (talk) 17:48, 26 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

Brothels legalized in Ontario, Canada


Found not ready on review. See review comments and detailed history of edits during review. --Pi zero (talk) 03:43, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

This article was a struggle for me as the resources at the time of press were limited to what you see there - a few interviews with people who supported the change of the law and that was it. I also stink at legalese and was totally fearing that I'd be accused of paraphrasing while writing it. I probably won't even work on it - at the time that I came across the story only 2-3 people had written about it and it's since blown up. Onto the next thing...and no more legalese for me :) Sarah (talk) 16:06, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
You're enthusiastic. That's good. :-)  Be aware, you've not yet got entire past the steep part of the Wikinews learning curve. My review comments flagged two basic problems, neither of which was to do with legalese. You apparently used resources that you did not cite, which is a very serious breach on Wikinews; and there was a neutrality problem (one rather suspects, quite unconscious), also a big deal.
A general observation. As I remark on my user page, this project is about collaboration between authors and reviewers. Keep in mind that, in requesting review for an article, one is asking volunteer reviewers to allocate some of their available project time to reviewing one's work, on the expectation that one (a) means to publish it, and (b) means to learn how to improve one's Wikinews contributions so as to, among other things, reduce how much work it will be for reviewers to review one's submissions in future. --Pi zero (talk) 17:27, 27 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
Just want to echo Pi zero's comments. The first few articles I wrote, I had Wikinews:Style guide open and ticked all the boxes. Sometimes I missed a few, but have gotten better at them. I ask on IRC how to improve in the future. -LauraHale (talk) 00:07, 28 March 2012 (UTC)Reply
Awesome tip Laura, thanks! I'll use that as my article "to do" list. And thanks again for inspiring me to join in. Sarah (talk) 00:45, 28 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

Great work


You get the Wikinews Dedicated Reporter Barnstar for hard work under pressure!

Tom Morris (talk) 21:10, 6 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

  • And, indeed that is deserved.
Because we used Flagged Revs, and because this is {{breaking}}, you could do a dozen or-so edits to work a new piece of information in from another source, pop {{review}} on, then carry on. Yes, there would be edit conflicts; however, you would just override them and write a new, unreviewed, copy in-place.
I'm just hopping on IRC, because I've wondered how the hell we might handle a fast-breaking story like this for an absolute age. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:15, 6 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Category:Asiana Airlines


Fortunately, there were a number of articles in the archives to populate this. :-)  Our rule on category population is, if there aren't three published articles waiting to go in the category, don't create it yet. --Pi zero (talk) 17:57, 7 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Oh, I assume that there were others (I did look and there are other Asiana Airlines articles) but I couldn't add the category because the articles are protected because they are old. Sarah (talk) 18:18, 7 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

How to present claims of fact


I suspect — an uncomfortable suspicion — that you haven't got the hang of how news articles should present claims of fact, and that our review process is getting swamped so that reviewers aren't catching the problems. Resulting in stuff getting published that really violates our neutrality policy.

This is a fundamental difference from Wikipedia. On Wikipedia, one presents what one thinks is probably true. This is not the way one writes news. If there's any question whatsoever, the reader needs to know that. This comes under the heading of "neutrality" because we consider it non-neutral to present as definite fact something that is not definite (or is not fact — i.e., opinion). The basic technique is attribution. There is all the difference in the world between a terrorist attack took place and several explosions took place, which so-and-so called a "terrorist attack". Sometimes it's as easy as qualifying a claim of objective fact by saying "reportedly" or some similar word — if it's a claim of objective fact. Opinions require more careful attribution. And "terrorist attack" should always be treated as opinion; I'm appalled that an article was published on Wikinews calling the event a terrorist attack. --Pi zero (talk) 16:47, 8 July 2013 (UTC)Reply

Small case in point: the article said there were four explosions. Then you propose to change it to say ten explosions, on the grounds two sources say that. We shouldn't be guessing. Clearly the article should not have said definitively in the first place that the number of explosions was four, and changing that to ten is just compounding the lack of respect for the reader. We aren't here to tell readers what our best guess is, we're here to tell them factually that certain things are known, certain things are reported, certain things are claimed by certain parties, etc.
Sorry if I come across rather strong on this, but I'm really appalled by the lack of attribution of claims of fact. Often stuff is reported by the police, or someone like that, but it comes from someone, and it matters who it comes from. And the reviewer (believe me, I know how difficult review is) blew it by passing it in this state. It's just icing on the cake that the lede is far longer and more detailed than a lede should be. --Pi zero (talk) 17:02, 8 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
Can't someone change the title? Everyone has their opinion on what neutrality is, opinion on what is neutral isn't neutral, which is funny :) Or someone could change what I wrote. In Wikipedia we have a concept called "#sofixit". So when someone is unhappy with your work, you can just say "Ok, well #sofixit!"
It's conversations (or comments) like this that make me go "yes yes yes ok" and then I drop off the face of the WikiNews planet for another year because I get inundated with why I'm not writing up to the standards of the five active editors here. Telling me you're appalled at something I wrote isn't the way to keep someone around. And if having too much content to review is an issue, then perhaps something has to change to get more reviewers and people to stick around. Constructive criticism is one thing, but using terms like "appalling" is surely not how it works in professional editorial circles, at least, in my experience as a published writer.
Even my panda article was told that it had too many references. Oy vey. I guess I just wasn't cut out to write Wikinews! Pehraps you should be bringing this up with the reviewers and not just me. Sarah (talk) 17:05, 8 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
Writing for Wikinews can be a marvelously satisfying experience once you grok the underlying concept; but sometimes when you haven't yet grasped elements of the underlying concept, that can make the experience frustrating. A couple of thoughts.
  • If you think "opinion on what is neutral isn't neutral", you're probably trying to use Wikipedia's notion of neutrality, which is vastly more subjective than Wikinews's. Neutrality on Wikinews is substantially grounded in objective reality; experienced Wikinewsies with radically different politics are nevertheless able to home in on the objective common ground of neutral Wikinews writing. Minor points of disagreement occur, rarely.
  • Sofixit is too often used on Wikipedia to excuse the person writing something from responsibility for errors. Wikipedia doesn't care much about errors, really, on the theory that they'll eventually get fixed and in the long run they'll spend more time right than they ever did wrong. But one of the defining characteristics of news is the importance of getting it right the first time. Both the reporter and the reviewer need to be on-board with that priority. On the "terrorist attack" article, you should be upset with yourself, and disappointed that it got published, and determined to not make that mistake again; saying that someone else should fix it is both denying responsibility for one's mistakes —everyone here has screwed up— denying the importance of getting things right the first time and denying the various infeasibilities of someone else fixing major problems in a news article they didn't write.
--Pi zero (talk) 17:48, 10 July 2013 (UTC)Reply
I just wanted to chime in to Sarah. There are often mistakes that happen. Some of them are the mistake of the reporter (who is learning, or wants to write a particular topic, or cannot figure out how to write a story neutrally because of their passion) and some are the mistakes of the reviewer. When the two combine together, it can create a very strange tension. My most recent case was Reports of at least fourteen dead this week due to gun-related suicides in the United States, which eventually had to have a correct because of the POV problems. Hindsight is 50/50, and things should have been handled better. The reviewer should have been more thorough and should have worked with you to address these problems by not readying it. (There is often a difficult balancing act for reviewers. We strongly want to encourage new contributors and publishing articles seems like the way to do it... but we risk hurting our quality issues by doing that.)

That said, I have the same strong reservations pi zero has about the use of the word terrorists, the lack of specifying where alleged facts came from, and then the post publishing fixes to the article. The total number of sources for me suggested those sources should have cited any questionable facts, which is why you would have so many sources... but none of them appeared in a glance through the article with things such as "Newspaper X says 5 explosions while Newspaper Y reports 10". That was one of the reasons I did not want to review it myself. (And those things need to be reported. RayBoy8 is a really good reporter, but in the reviewing stage, I edited the article to state clearly the sources did not publish the name of the dead woman because otherwise the implication was the police did not do it. "Her name is unknown" would just be too ambiguous fact wise. --LauraHale (talk) 17:41, 8 July 2013 (UTC)Reply