Wikinews:Wikimania 2008

(Redirected from Wikinews:WM2008)



This is a space to collaborate on presentation material, talks, and other aspects of Wikinews' involvement in Wikimania 2008.



Wikinews in action video


User:symode09 is proud of his video editing skills and a project to create a video to run at Wikimania 2008, or future events, has been proposed.

Brianmc suggested a stop-motion version of an article being created and running through to being archived. The article in question is Wikinews international report: "Anonymous" holds anti-Scientology protests worldwide. This looks to be the project's most notable collaborative effort due to contributions being global in origins (rare for news) and being original reporting.


  • "This page does not exist", initial title (was in prep) shows up as if typed in.
  • First version of article.
  • Section addition. If does not fit on-screen scroll previous section to where addition made then show addition.
  • Repeat previous step until done with the following rules applied as each revision is shown.
    • If change of title, show the title change box, typing in of new title, then top of new version.
    • If photo(s) are added, zoom each out as if clicked on to open in new window, pause, close, and to top.
    • If video is added, zoom and play.
Comment: You may wish to work some of the mailing list stuff and User:Skenmy/APC into it. Bawolff 03:21, 29 February 2008 (UTC)[reply]



Ideas for speeches should be added to this section.

Insta-wiki, wiki 24/7

Wikinews for Wikipedians


In recent developments on Wikinews, we have seen an increase in contributors who are wiki-savvy from their experience on Wikipedia. Yet, due to Wikipedia being filled out they are finding less and less opportunity to create new articles, and more and more requirement to do Wikignome tasks such as grammar and spelling corrections. People get involved with both projects to fill a gap, but Wikinews always needs today's news so the gap can never be filled. Our community is waiting for these people from Wikipedia to fall down the rabbit hole and end up on Wikinews. Unless you are a Wikipedian who follows a TV series and posts the plot synopsis for each episode you are going to run out of scope for writing your own material; you are going to see less and less opportunity to see your own prose in print – or rather, on-screen. Wikinews? If you're watching the TV news, or reading the news online and find something that interests you, you just need to dig up a few sources and you're ready to roll with an article.

Wikinews is the ideal place to turn to when you want to scratch that article creation itch. We always need new articles. In 2006 the average daily article count for the project was only about 5-6 articles per day. At the beginning of 2008 that had risen to somewhere between 10 and 20 articles per day on the English language version. It starts to become worthwhile for people to visit the site daily, but we want so many that we have to redesign the main page again.

One of the oft-cited axioms of the site is "Wikinews is not Wikipedia". For a start, more main namespace articles on Wikinews are protected than those editable. We archive – or at least try to. There are rigorous guidelines for how to finalise an article; check for substantial changes in the form of "late" edits; fix spelling and grammar errors; check sources are correctly formatted, and when you have done all that, you add the {{archived}} template and apply full protection. Consequently, you might actually find it easier to get administrator status on our project than on Wikipedia. We value our archive; we are documenting history as it happens.

As is easy to infer from this, Wikinews constantly strives to have every article move at a much faster pace than your average Wikipedia article. We have deadlines. Facts do not cease to be facts, but news ceases to be news. The opportunity to feel good from creating something is always going to exist on our project.

Taking the first steps


Having consulted with a few people who have made the jump from Wikipedia to Wikinews it seems they find Wikinews an easier project to contribute to. It certainly helps that it is a smaller community and it is possible to get to know everyone with a little effort. You can find out who the more conservative members of the community are and how to interact with them. You quickly learn who can give you advice and copyedit help, sourcing requirements are somewhat less stringent, and every article - at least for the time being - appears on the front page; that latter point is a huge incentive, if you pick the right story you're going to land a lead position on the front page without the huge amount of work that is required on Wikipedia to get to Featured status first. Okay, so we are not the eighth most visited site on the Internet, but we aim high. You are writing for a far smaller audience, but that audience expects us to hold ourselves to a high standard. We aim - in newspaper terms - to be a broadsheet as opposed to a tabloid.

Now, one of the things that confuses a lot of people who come over from Wikipedia is the exact "how" of our approach to documenting history. Wikipedians are used to spending time over a period of days, weeks, or even longer, digging up sources and expanding the article they are working on. Most articles on Wikinews have an urgency to them that means this is impractical. The project has rules preventing major edits days after publication, and at an age of seven days things should have concrete poured over them - that is, get full, indefinite protection applied. From an administrator's perspective this can make Wikinews easier to deal with; there are less potential targets for vandalism. As already stated, facts do not cease to be facts, but news ceases to be news. This is a personal insight that was posted in a Wikinews discussion and clarifies the sharp distinction between Wikinews and Wikipedia. The day after Princess Diana died in a car crash the event was news, now it is a fact of history and has ceased to be news.

Everything I have said so far is based on people working as if they are still on Wikipedia and developing articles from secondary sources. This - to some extent - is the bread and butter of Wikinews. It is what you would be tasked with as a junior journalist in a newsroom, basically taking the stuff that comes off the wire and rewriting to fit specific constraints of your employer's publication. It makes for excellent practice in writing news, and is an aid to developing a skill in quickly imparting information to people.

Yet, it would to many be pointless to have Wikinews were it restricted to just this sort of coverage. This is why - along with Wikiversity - we are one of the projects that allows original reporting.

Original Reporting


Yes, we allow original reporting. Over the past six months to a year this has become more prevalent on the project with people coming in from other projects, such as Wikipedia, and taking the concept to new levels. I believe we are the only citizen journalism site to have interviewed a sitting head of state - namely Shimon Perez. We are also the first stop you want to visit if you want to know about the candidates for U.S. President who are not in the main two parties. As far as our competitors in the mainstream are concerned, these people don't even exist.

If you want to get involved in this aspect of the site it is a good idea to first build a reputation with some synthesis articles, that is, those written from secondary sources. As journalists, Wikinewsies have to be naturally suspicious; so while "assume good faith" does apply, a demonstration that you have read site policies and know how to apply them will garner you more support in work based on investigative journalism or interviewing.

Standard original reporting can pretty much be on any topic. If you can justify it as newsworthy and write an interesting and engaging piece there is little likelihood of it being challenged. In a good number of cases this is going to be a solo effort, the community is going to have to trust you, and their input will likely be restricted to question suggestions where you get enough notice to put up a call for participation.

Original reporting has presented something of a dilemma to Wikinews, at least in the fact that too many contributors have silly email addresses that nobody, such as a presidential candidate, would contemplate responding to. I [Brian McNeil] did an end-run round this by buying the domain and issuing email addresses to reporters who went through the accreditation process. The project now has group email addresses like scoop at wikinewsie dot org which go to all active accredited reporters. This has been subscribed to a number of press release lists so we are on the inside track for covering a variety of events.



As mentioned earlier, we have a separate domain for email addresses. However, the accreditation process is a part and a policy of the main English Wikinews site. Those who pass this accreditation process are listed on the credential verification page, issued with press passes, and an email address for use in their reporting work. You do not need to be accredited to do original reporting, but if you have gained the trust of the community and done so then other contributors will shout at you about missing reporter's notes; if you are not accredited then they will unpublish your article and shout at you about missing reporter's notes.

For conventional media a press pass is no big deal, you are expected to have a background in the trade and it comes with the employment package. On Wikinews it is not quite so straightforward. The key reason is most people voting on accreditation will have very little opportunity to meet you face to face and size you up. You are known by your work and whilst it need not all be on Wikinews you would need to show a good deal of interest in the project.

To quote from a recent application for accreditation, "I want to become an accredited reporter so I can serve the Wikinews community better. That's it. Wikinews is probably one of the greatest websites I've ever visited. Here, ordinary people have the power to become established journalists. A local city council meeting can get the same coverage as the impeachment of a president. Every story is put on an equal playing field, no bias. That's what I find amazing about this website and why I'm happy to write for it."

That being said, we are always looking for new reporters - accredited or otherwise. As a small tight-knit community the English Wikinews is a fun project to get involved with. After you get over the initial high from going "Oh my God! my article is on the front page!" you will be hooked.

To close I will add one thing...

We are Wikinews. Join us.

Timed out to 11-12 minutes.

Presentations and talking points


I've prepared a presentation. --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 16:37, 8 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]

The presentation has been uploaded on the Pentabarf site. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:56, 16 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Panel discussion topics


Add proposed themes for panel discussions to this section.

Panel theme


Wikinews for Wikipedians

Introductory speech


See above. The Wikinews for Wikipedians section of the full-length speech would be used to introduce the panel and closed off with the "We are Wikinews. Join us" slogan.

Topics to focus on

  • How Wikinews is easier to contribute to.
  • Constant need for new articles.
  • More fast-paced.
  • More credit and respect for your work.
  • Possibility to do Original Research when reputation established.

Wikinews workshops


Writing your first Wikinews article

  • The welcome template and guidelines, esp WN:SG.
  • Sourcing material from independent secondary sources.
    • Watch out for seemingly independent sources all reusing the same wire report.
  • Using IRC to get additional sources from the NewsWire bot.
    • #wikinews-feeds on
  • Using Google news to find other sources.
  • What you can and can't copy from another source.
  • Article stages, {{develop}} {{ready}} {{publish}}
  • Wikilinks - Local versus Wikipedia.

Potential attendees


If you are a potential attendee please add your name below and note if you'd need a scholarship to get there. Ideally we want four or five Wikinewsies there.

  • Brian McNeil / talk (scholarship required, media accreditation required)
  • I've thought about this long and hard, because I've spoken out against security measures there. However, I am a journalist by profession and I believe in free reporting, so I think that's what has to win here. TheCustomOfLife - (talk) (scholarship required, media accreditation required)
  • Brock contact... 09:59, 6 March 2008 (UTC), to lecture some topic about technology trends. (scholarship & media accreditation required)[reply]
  • Skenmy(tcw) pending confirmation that this will not clash with my exams. I'd also be happy to speak about Wikinews, I think. (scholarship & media accreditation required)
Done - Exams finish of 25th of June. I am able to attend, pending scholarship --Skenmy(tcw) 18:21, 13 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]
  • millosh (talk) (scholarship required, media accreditation required)
  • Steven Fruitsmaak: I might go if I can get time off from my clinical clerkship (less than 50% chance). Would be more motivated if I could present something. Media accreditation of course, but I think the limited number of scholarships would be better spent on someone else.
Having seen the powerpoint I'd say forward that on to scoop, looks good to me. --Brian McNeil / talk 14:40, 9 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]
If we are able to get enough people together on a panel I would like to be on that, or I can give a presentation if we are short on Wikinewsies. --Cspurrier - (talk) 23:22, 19 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Media Sponsorship


As we're building a good team of potential attendees here there is the issue of how it will be paid for to resolve. Only a limited number of scholarship positions are available and whilst Wikinews might can swing one or two their way we need to look for outside sources of sponsorship.

To this end, Brianmc contacted the BBC, ABC, and VOA. If you've any other media groups that you have contacted then please list them so we do not hit anyone twice.

CBC was emailed after Jay Walsh provided an email address of someone there.

The email sent to the BBC's Technology Editor, Darren Waters, is given below and judging from the response that follows this is an excellent pitch to adapt for any media organisation based where we have accredited reporters.


Dear Mr Waters,

I am an administrator and accredited freelance reporter on Wikinews (, a sister site to Wikipedia. I am sure you have heard of us; the BBC had one of our journalists in the newsroom for a week – Frankie Roberto.

As the subject says, I am interested in the upcoming Wikimania 2008 that is to happen in Alexandria, Egypt ( at the new library. To be more specific, I am interested in how Wikinews and the BBC could perhaps collaborate on coverage for the technology section of BBC News Online possibly sharing photographs and reports. It is my opinion that the BBC guidelines on fair, representative, and balanced reporting are quite compatible with the Wikimedia Foundation’s cornerstone policy of Neutral Point of View.

Should the BBC intend to have someone attend the event I would be happy to be involved in arranging press access through the organization committee; I am one of the contacts with them from Wikinews and would be seeking to get there myself and host a panel on our project. Someone from the BBC would be a great addition to such a panel provided they were familiar with aspects of the BBC site such as Have Your Say and the Editors’ blog.

Alternatively, I believe there are a number of our potential attendees who would be delighted to be given the opportunity to see their work on the BBC site with a byline. As the conference schedule firms up and the presentations, workshops, and panels are announced it will likely become clear where suitable material for use by either your technology or culture sections exists. Were some arrangement possible that permitted some of our reporters to attend and defray their costs by doing commissioned pieces for the BBC I believe this would be a win-win situation.

I’d appreciate if you could let me know if this sounds of interest, and if you could forward it on to the editor responsible for the culture section of your website.


Brian McNeil

Wikinews Administrator & Community Accredited Reporter

  • response:

I think that's a brilliant idea Brian.

I think we could really open up the process of making news - both for us and for wikinews. Wow! Excited by this.

I'm snowed under this week - but let's talk early next week. My numbers are below

Darren Waters Technology editor BBC News Interactive

Submissions on the Wikimania site


Wikimania has a submissions site, see our entry here once you've registered and been attached to it. (Ask in #wikimania2008).