Wikinews:Knight Foundation proposal

This page exists to coordinate the development of a proposal for the Knight Foundation 21st Century News Challenge.


Members & RolesEdit

Work So FarEdit

After unfortunately delaying until the very last minute, I wrote and submitted the letter of inquiry (applicatin), with the approval of the Wikimedia Foundation. The submitted proposal is below. -- IlyaHaykinson 19:33, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Letter of IntentEdit

The letter was a structured application. It was supposed to present the idea by answering specific questions. Each answer had a character limit.


Wikinews “WikiBureau” expansion; development of technology, literature and starter kits for local citizen journalists to start using established Wikinews local bureau framework to create local news sites and newspapers.

Total estimated cost of the project:


Project duration (whole years):


What makes this idea unique?

This project will deliver technological tools and physical resources to let local community leaders create virtual news bureaus to report on news within their communities. The project will build upon the success of Wikinews to allow these communities to collect and publish news with the oversight of experienced collaborators from around the world, and be integrated into a global network of similar diverse communities. The project will incorporate the unique qualities of Wikinews, one of the first citizen journalism efforts and a project committed to delivering local and global content unencumbered by copyright restrictions.
Over the two years of the site, many of the thousands of members have formed local virtual "bureaus" of a few individuals. Most are specific to geographical areas, ranging from townships in Toronto to all of Buffalo, NY, to all of New Zealand. Some are non-geographic, such as a Quaker religious bureau. These bureaus take a local approach to local stories which may or may not have more global importance.
This project aims to create tools to empower larger and more permanent local bureaus, and to attract at least three dozen productive bureaus to the online community. The project will develop additional technology to allow local citizen journalists to organize local communication, file and track stories in editing, upload audio and visual media and work with the established online community on publishing the news. The technology will also allow local communities to print paper versions of their online newspapers. In order to help such local news bureaus get started, Wikinews will develop community starter kits: published material to train bureau leaders on using the technological tools, or provide access to cheap equipment to help get them started in media acquisition. The project would seek out model charter communities and their leaders, and jumpstart their participation with Wikinews.

Who else would want to use it, and why?

Currently small geographical communities are served by large metropolitan area news organizations or local newsletters, bulletins, radio or newspapers. News produced by large organizations is rarely local enough; the news produced by local efforts has trouble being seen outside that community.
With tools offered by Wikinews, communities could develop their own online news organization. Local efforts could also be rolled up in to more and more global presentations of news, allowing local journalism to reach the international level seamlessly.
Local journalism leaders would embrace the project due to the ease of startup and presence of experienced members to guide the online publishing effort. Finally, those interested in commercializing the publishing would have unfettered access to the freely-licensed content.

Why are you the best person or organization to develop this project?

Wikinews is an established project run by a popular and savvy non-profit that is a trailblazer of freely-licensed content unencumbered by copyright restrictions. The project community has built up experience with online journalism, both local and international, and has leaders willing to spearhead the efforts.
Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit behind the largest collaborative Internet effort, Wikipedia. Since 2004, Wikinews has allowed contributors from around the world to write news articles about current events. Members of take roles of copy writing, editing, photography, field research, fact-checking, producing spoken-word broadcasts of some articles or a printable daily version of the site's new stories. Any member may take any role, and the community self-polices itself to ensure adherence to commonly-accepted rules.
Unlike most other online news projects, Wikinews requires that all content be free from copyright restrictions or plagiarism. All news content must be originally produced by the contributor or indirectly derived from published stories. Once the content is published by members, it is licensed for unlimited distribution without restriction other than attribution to Wikinews. This allows any other party – commercial or non-commercial – to freely reproduce content without fear of violating copyright or paying fees. Wikinews is one of the main sources of open-source licensed original news content on the Internet.
Finally, Wikinews is highly egalitarian. With the exception of legal questions, all decisions are taken by community consensus. Leaders are promoted from the general membership by democratic means, and editorial disputes are handled by established policies and elected arbitrators. Most site decisions are determined by applying standards of meritocracy. The site subscribes to Wikimedia’s overarching policy of developing content written from a neutral point of view – fairly representing contentious sides of issues – and has a history of successfully defending these principles.

Next StepsEdit

The Knight Foundation today declined to pursue investigation of the project. A future round of applications may be possible. -- IlyaHaykinson 21:01, 3 January 2007 (UTC)