Wikinews:Breaking news

This page is considered a guideline on Wikinews. It is widely accepted among editors and considered a standard that all users should follow. However, it is not cast in stone, should be treated with common sense, and occasional exceptions are expected. Edits should reflect community consensus and best-practice. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.

For a list of current breaking news stories, see also Category:Breaking News.

In the event of a major breaking news event, we need to organize ourselves to give the best possible coverage.

Policies and Guidelines

Neutral point of view
Content guide
Style guide

Ignore all rules


For Wikipedians


Here are guidelines you can follow - if you're the first person to react, follow the First moments advice, and if the story is already on the site, read the As the story unfolds advice section. Finally, the If you are at the scene section gives suggestions in case you ever find yourself at the scene of a major story.

First moments

Create an article

It is very important to create an article about the event as soon as possible to prevent multiple articles being created. Go to the Newsroom and start your article. Submit it for {{breaking review}} as soon as you can by changing {{develop}} to {{breaking review}}.

When published, the article will have {{breaking}} at its top to advise readers information can change quickly as more details emerge; it should be removed as the story settles down.

List sources

List your sources as soon as you find them. If you're hearing it on a live broadcast, use the {{broadcast report}} tag in the Sources section, then explain on the Talk page what you're listening to or watching, and what's being said.

As the story unfolds

Connect to IRC

During breaking news situations, you may want to join our IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channel to help coordinate things. IRC is never required, and is merely used to communicate in real time, share sources, and discuss events. We have the #wikinews channel on the server

Find sources

In the first moments of a major event we need sources as soon as possible. Try searching on Google News (has a 15 minute delay) and Yahoo News (can be quicker for "news wire" articles), and listening to live radio streams. Post your sources in the IRC channel so people can read them, and add them to the article.

Minimizing edit conflicts

As the number of editors working on an article increase, edit conflicts become more frequent. There are several steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of an edit conflict.

  1. Divide the article into sections. You can divide the article into sections by adding ==Section title== above a section of text. If you use the visual editor, format the line as heading. To avoid an edit conflict, edit one section at a time. An example of this can be found at Coordinated terrorist attack hits London.
  2. Write your additions somewhere else first, then add them to the article. In many cases, it is easier to make your additions to an article at another location before adding it to the frequently-edited article. The easiest way to do this is to open a blank text document on your computer using a text editor program. You can then copy that text into the article.

For new developments, start new articles

The main article can cover the primary event. However, for new developments - responses from political leaders, updates on casualty tolls, arrests etc - start new articles. Remember we're a news service, not an encyclopedia, and we want to highlight new developments to our readers as soon as they're verified.

If the original article would not get reviewed in due time, you may use the new developments to refocus it, thus saving much of the original content. By that time the original focal point has most likely lost its breaking status.

Renaming articles

Avoid renaming published articles if at all possible since this may affect outside pages and newsfeeds who may be linking to Wikinews. Choose a headline specific to the incident without being too detail-specific because of its breaking nature.

If you are at the scene

Current Breaking
News Stories


If you are online near the scene, add a comment to the story's Talk page saying where you are and adding notes for any original reporting. You may find it easier to add quick reports on the Talk page which other editors can then add to the story, especially as information which may turn out to be rumours on the ground can be checked out by others with access to wider information.

If possible, take photographs using a digital camera (even a camera phone is better than nothing at all), and upload them to Wikimedia Commons.