Wikinews talk:Original reporting

Latest comment: 5 years ago by in topic Consent for audio recordings

Historical discussion


I'm a bit confused as to what you really mean by original reporting? From my own point of view, original reporting is a first-hand account of what is really happening. That's what I learned from my many years of experience in the field. To generate news that have original details and facts, any reporter must get to the immediate sources. These can be done by conducting an exclusive interview, ambush interview or simply attending a press conference, wherein some information kits are distributed by the organizers during the conference. From these materials, any reporter can extract new angles or slants that can be turned into a newsworthy materials. If the reporter wants to expound the new angle that he has, he can perhaps, make some researches related to the subject he is writing about. He may have three or four sources, especially if the new slant is turned into a good feature story, where you must put color in it.

Another option to compose an original report is to find corporate reports like annual, quarterly or monthly reports on the company or organization's performance during a certain period. Just to cite an example, I do believe that registered corporations are required to submit periodic reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). From these reports, any reporter may have a chance to get or secure a copy of said reports and may have the option to use the facts and details either by paraphrasing or simply quoting them, as contained in the submitted reports because they are already public documents. The same holds true with any government offices across America that has official websites. Sometimes, they use these websites to post their official reports, including messages from their bosses. Perhaps, it is only fitting that researches on certain topics should be considered in the category of original reporting. To me, a good writer or enterprising reporter, may be able to generate new ideas or angles on topics that are not covered yet in the mainstream media by just doing researches on the library or the Internet. Of course, the author must cite proper sources to make it more reliable in the eyes of the readers. Alsojerat117 3:25P.M., June 12, 2007 (UTC)

What criteria are we going to use for original reporting? Anything that might make the town's rag newspaper, or events of more than local significance? (<-- posted by Kmweber)

Thanks for asking. I'm wondering how to apply this policy as well. I'm looking for some constructive examples of original reporting that are within reach of a "citizen journalist".
If Wikinews is to qualify as "the press", original reporting has to be in the mix, otherwise isn't Wikinews just a blog or a news aggregator with no real news product of its own?
However, I'm somewhat at a loss as to how I could obtain an interview with anyone who has recently done something noteworthy enough for a national or international audience. Why should anyone in such a position give an amatuer reporter the time of day?
As for witnessing something extraordinary to provide a firsthand account, the odds of that seem fairly low. I saw an SUV flip over and create a big accident on the interstate the other day, but that's about the most noteworthy thing I've personally witnessed since the big march up in San Francisco around the time the Iraq war started.
Because there will over time be heaps and heaps of people using Wikinews the chances of somebody being on the scene of something interesting (even something of major international importance) becomes very high, one day it might even be you! Plus as for the more local/national importance, perhaps you aren't seeing things in the right light? Was a bike courier last year and I'd be seeing things of interest happening all around me all the time. Just most of the time I was too busy working to be reporting! Although many times I did still stop working for long enough to give chase to criminals... ;p Mathmo 19:01, 14 April 2006 (UTC)Reply
Also, NPOV would seem to exclude any original "research", wouldn't it?
On a more positive note, I like the "Science news column" idea. Could the "column" concept be extended to reporting about technical breakthroughs demonstrated by local companies, or as seen at a convention? Of course, there is a line in the sand between "big picture" tech reporting versus the easier path of rewriting new product announcements and press releases masquerading as objective news reports. A number of tech news outlets are guilty of sometimes taking the latter path for a variety of reasons.
I want to contribute original reporting, but I need some specific examples of original reporting by a citizen journalist that I can try to emulate.
DV 12:11, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Here is an example underway: I have taken two media releases with conflicting points of view, and tried to obtain clarification for the actual situation by emailing a government minister's department. So far they haven't had time to reply, if they never reply, the story may end with 'The minister declined to comment.' or something similar. But I hope this demonstrates that it's easy to generate new material for articles without even leaving your desk. ;)
I have started documenting possible policy/guidelines for authors at Wikinews:Original reporting.
Regarding scope of articles that should be published here, personally I encourage any article which is likely to get readers or new authors/editors onto the site. The internet is infiniate in scope, why should Wikinews be any different?
Don't underrate the popularity of your own home basketball team or whatever it is that interests you. And don't underrate the willingness of others to help you develop an interesting article - we will demand it! But unless you post, we don't know you are interested in writing. Even if you can't see anything greatly interesting about your chosen topic, if you just get started, people will often ask interesting questions that give you ideas.
Not many people have ever seen a car flip on the highway! And you can always look up local notice-boards for activities that other people are doing, and cover those. Just go along with a camera and a notebook, and even if you're scared at first to talk to people, you can give an outsider's view, which is what most of us are to most events, so instantly you have resonance with your audience. ;) Simeon 12:38, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The other option is to write about thinks you're at the source of. Like posting a press release to the wikipedia. This keeps the barrier to entry low, though it doesn't qualify as NPOV without some reviewing/rewriting.

What does Original Reporting require?


I'm a little confused to exactaly what original reporting requires. Must you get an interview for it to be original reporting? There's a lot of news that happens on the web, and I think we could be in a great spot to get in on that. News for Google has released its next big thing, or that Paris's next great video can be found on creative commons. Its still news, and the reporting would be original in that we're not getting it off other people's reports.

The other confusion is if you use websites as reference material. I'm currently working on a story on a rocket launch that will happen at cape canveral this afternoon. As part of the story, I had to look at the builder of the rocket's website and the user of the satellite's website. Neither of these are other news services, so is that original reporting? How about if I get information off a press relase on one of the above mentioned sites? Is reporting on something given in a press release original?

Finally, when this thing goes off, I'm going to watch the webcast and take notes. Its a webcast with an anchor, but I wouldn't call it a news service since it's a commercial (lockheed) webcast. Teeks99 18:13, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

This is my personal interpretation of original reporting, but in my opinion original reporting involves collecting information first-hand about a specific news item, integrating and organizing the information, and writing it up.
Using your example of the rocket launch, source material (from the non-news websites) is part of the research for an article. Using a press release (so long as you are not merely paraphrasing it) as a source can also be a part of original reporting. You should also consider reference materials such as books, journals, and other traditional references. Multi-media sources, interviews, and e-mails are all additional resource you may want to consider.
There is a convention at Wikinews to consider supporting material in three forms: Sources, which are material which might move/change from the time the article is published (a person's opinion, a website page, etc.), References which are fixed and can be cited precisely (books, published speeches, periodical articles), and Notes which are source documents (e-mails, transcriptions or recordings of interviews, etc). All three may be used to support original reporting. - Amgine 19:01, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I think Original Reporting means incorporating material that you got from some source other than something that was published. A company web site, a press relesae, a book — all are published and should appear in sources. However, if you talk to someone, are an eyewitness to something, read something that is not directly verifiable via the web or a book store or a magazine stand, you're doing original reporting.
In your case: watching a webcast could be original reporting if the webcast is not archived and others can't watch it and verify that what you reported was correct. If it's archived, it's probably not original reporting under my definition, at least. I suppose in some cases the lines are fuzzy. -- IlyaHaykinson 19:09, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
One thing that really strikes me me when looking at the wikinews frontpage right now is that almost all the articles are about goverments doing this or that. I think it is really important to always try to get the "human interest" angle on all stories where this is appopriate, and try to focus on how you and I change the world, opposed to what George does. I would recomment reading or listening to some of Robert Zinns stuff, like "Howard Zinn - A People's History of the United States", where he always twist historical moments and turns to focus on the individual (like malcolm x). This really makes the stories hit the reader harder, and explains why this particular piece of news is important. -- Mskogly 21:47, 2 april 2005

Creating original reporting resources


We should begin building both a collection of tutorials and a selection of useful online learning resources and tools.

These need to go somewhere else, not hidden on a discussion page like this. I can't do it right now, but someone please do. - Simeon 05:27, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I've copied most of them to the project page, at least until a better spot is found. Maurreen 17:11, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Complete resources


There are actually quite a few sites which address journalism en toto. Here are a selection which Wikinews contributors find useful:



How tos, tips and tricks, tools to sharpen your interviews and make them more effective:


The article says, "Because Wikinews content is public domain (anyone is allowed to copy), you should advise all correspondents that you wish to publish their replies, and can they please agree to publish them in the public domain. Ask in advance, because it's polite, and it's not easy to persuade someone after they spill the beans!". I understand that would apply for written interviews(i.e. email, IM, snail mail), but that is not necessary for verbal ones. I believe that for something to be copyrighted, it must be put into fixed form(i.e. ink, electronic rearrangement, pencil), rather than merely spoken. What do others think? Superm401 17:40, 12 July 2005 (UTC)Reply

I agree. That section of the policy needs to be changed. Direct quotes from people are not copyright infringements - the government uses quotes in their documents all the time. -- NGerda 17:42, July 12, 2005 (UTC)

Authorship / Blasphemy / Idea


Perhaps for original reporting, it would be appropriate to retain the original author's name (and maybe contact information) with the article. The other wikinewsies would then act as editors / commentors / etc., as usual. It would, of course, need to be clear that the named author still agrees to all the normal wiki non-copyrighted stipulations. This would allow several things: 1) something of a glory incentive for reporters who get a scoop, and 2) a contact and name if the original reporting is suspect. News outlets could remove the author's name later if they wanted (it's public domain text after all). ~Alan G., Aug 10. (was not signed)

Well, not public domain: actually, creative commons "by", version 2.5. 16:22, 8 June 2007 (UTC)Reply
I don't see how that differs a lot from the current situation: now, you can write something among the lines of "Wikinews reporter XYZ interviewed Mr. President about...", which is still a glory incentive. If there are suspicions about an original work, the author is contacted and asked for clarification on the talk page, or else the article is not published.--Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 17:52, 8 June 2007 (UTC)Reply
A byline is subtle though, while "Wikinews reporter Joshua Sherurcij interviewed..." is not. Sherurcij refusing to add Original Reporting until PD Articles are allowed 15:54, 22 September 2007 (UTC)Reply
I agree that a byline should be established. This would accomplish two goals: it would make Wikinews make more sense to the outside world; seeing original reporting without a byline is weird, and very much outside the mainstream. And, as stated above, it would be a bit of incentive for people to do original reporting, and to do it well. And we could certainly use the incentive! -Peteforsyth (talk) 05:52, 11 September 2009 (UTC)Reply



Shouldn't this section be changed? Am guessing this was written before accredditation, but seeing I only just created an account here I'll refrain for now from the normal "be bold" that I'd do on wiki. :p

"Since Wikinews has no formal approval process for authors, when contacting sources, you must represent yourself as an independent author/researcher, not as a 'representative' of Wikinews. You may of course inform the source where you are planning to publish, but please ensure they understand in this case that your own views and activities are not representative of anyone else who uses Wikinews, nor does the reputation of Wikinews, or lack of reputation of Wikinews, reflect on yourself. It is an open, public news forum, with transitory quality control, at best." Mathmo 19:01, 14 April 2006 (UTC)Reply

I was just about to ask this myself. -- Zanimum 15:39, 31 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

Standards for OR


Seeing things like "I just watched the press conference on TV" leading to an OR-tag on an article left me wondering if maybe this page should include a "definition" of what constitutes OR on Wikinews. Sherurcij refusing to add Original Reporting until PD Articles are allowed 15:55, 22 September 2007 (UTC)Reply

Movie 'The Assassination of Jesse James' leaked on the internet would be a nice example of a misused "Original reporting" tag. Original reporting doesn't mean you're mentioning that you noticed a pirated movie online - it means you phoned Warner Brothers and got a comment from them, you sent the forum an eMail asking them to defend their display of the file - you asked an intellectual property lawyer to comment on the case. Not "zomg, I wrote an article" Sherurcij 01:23, 30 September 2007 (UTC)Reply
The definition I've been using for original reporting is reporting using original source material. This means media releases, company websites, interviews, and observations -- pretty much anything except for stuff produced by another news agency. An example is this article: Australian government approves Tasmanian pulp mill. We should be discouraging the use of other news agencies as sources. - Borofkin 11:03, 4 October 2007 (UTC)Reply

Who gets sued?


(this is an example, not real) Wikinews published a story about me - saying I admitted to liking to having sex with goats. Who get's sued? if the ip is an unresolvable IP, is the foundation responsible as the publisher? -- 00:16, 27 December 2007 (UTC)Reply

I am not a lawyer, but I do believe that this general disclaimer is intended to answer your question. --SVTCobra 00:22, 27 December 2007 (UTC)Reply
I thought that authors were basically responsible for things they write, like anybody is responsible for what they say in public places. The foundation is especially well protected from getting sued (simply because that's were our money is, and we want to keep the servers running). The foundation is not the publisher but merely provides the hardware, and it won a lawsuit in France where it was shown that the foundation is not responsible for the content. --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 09:41, 27 December 2007 (UTC)Reply

OR and sources...


If an article is OR, why the external sources (e.g. news organization) should be added? I don't think so. Although it's witnessed by the 1st person? Brock contact... 14:28, 30 July 2008 (UTC)Reply



This is a particularly confusing policy page, emphasis on "talking to sources" section. It took a thorough reading even to get the real gist of it. I believe that this policy needs to be simplified to the point were it is understandable, and not rambling. The Mind's Eye (talk) 03:00, 2 August 2008 (UTC)Reply

Umm, didn't seem that bad to me. Bawolff 06:15, 29 January 2009 (UTC)Reply
I sympathise: at a second glance it looks like the paragraphs about identifying yourself should be grouped together. Specifically which part of "talking to sources" confused you? --InfantGorilla (talk) 15:11, 29 January 2009 (UTC)Reply

I need some answers


I didnt want to delete that but you people always seem to have some problem with the content in it even after lots of deletion and and trying not to be as biased as possible, but here we are facing real life situation, a real life problem and on wikinews we are just giving an insight to the whole situation and the aftermath of the article which got published in Gulf News and Notes with different headings. What i want is an actual answer, you want sources, i gave the sources and exactly what are we suppose to write here on wikinews? its not only breaking news should get chance for publication, is this not news? is this not related to the people, is news not meant to be heard by the people, in other words the truth. i'm ready to co-operate, but i'm not getting suggestions from you guys, you are pointing the mistake, like biasness but not telling which part is biased, haven't i mentioned the positive points of the college? please let me know because i want to re-write the article but this time i need your help so that it meets your requirements. Please reply me as soon as possible waiting for your earliest reply. Thanks a lot Syedatif (talk) 06:20, 2 February 2009 (UTC)Reply

I read the now deleted article you wrote and I have to say it suffered from several problems. First, it wasn't news, it was a blog post. Second, you quoted people, but we had no way of verifying what they said. Third, your balancing of the article to add positive points about the place didn't removed the very nasty things you had to say about the place, which again we couldn't verify. All told, Wikinews doesn't seem to be place for this article. Have you tried Blogger? If you set up a blog, you can say what you like and get the feedback you requested. Don't let this put you off Wikinews or wikis in general: the majority of people don't get far with their first post to a wiki because of content rules they can't get their material to conform to (in that respect, Wikinews does better than Wikipedia, but both do have standards). Redvers (talk) 07:00, 2 February 2009 (UTC)Reply
[I replied on the user's talk page, but leaving a note here as he seems to imply he's watching this page]. Also to any admins reading this, for the context see here. Bawolff 07:18, 2 February 2009 (UTC)Reply



If you watch something on the television yourself, live as it happens, does that still count as original reporting? --Rayboy8 (talk) 20:06, 11 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

It can, live television can often be the only source for breaking news. If you are using information that can not be linked to it must be considered OR and have notes posted to go with it. See "Standards for OR" higher up on this page for one of the many past debates on it. --Cspurrier (talk) 20:14, 11 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

Official Wikinews Press Card?


The article talks about leaving "your Wikinews Press Card at home!". Is there an official Wikinews Press Card? If so, where can one obtain this? Sohmc (talk) 14:59, 27 July 2010 (UTC)Reply

Firstly, we won't just hand them out like candy. You need to be accredited first and go through a formal accreditation request. And the whole idea of printing ID cards is still in the works. —Mikemoral♪♫ 15:09, 27 July 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • At the moment I'm working out/trialling a few designs for Accredited Reporter 'business cards'. When the current ARs settle on something they like I'll do a trial print. Should be less than £10 for 50-100. Actual 'secure' cards/passes will cost more for the one. Being able to hand over a card, with credential verification details on the back, is a stopgap. The Wikinews geek squad will be looking at by-phone verification. But, that would be an asterisk-based system to avoid people manning phones. We might get some help from the WMF on that, but I expect we'd have to pay the number rentals. -- Brian McNeil (alt. account) /alt-talkmain talk 17:35, 27 July 2010 (UTC)Reply

The link to the PBS web site referred to in the article does not work anymore.

Reporting basics Basic Reporting Principles (PDF), from PBS Newshour

Eastavin (talk) 15:09, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikinews is a wiki, so anyone can edit any article by simply following the Edit This Page link at the top. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills.

With that said, thanks for pointing this out! The requested edit is   Done BRS (Talk) (Contribs) 19:01, 2 April 2014 (UTC)Reply

Reporting on Primary Documentary Source = Original Reporting?


Does a report based on a primary source constitute original reporting? Here are some examples:

  • "Notable Person X" issues a press release that is clearly verifiable as originating from "Notable Person X". The content of the release, by its very nature, is newsworthy (i.e. I'm not talking about a patently promotional product launch release, I mean, for instance, Justin Bieber announces he has testicular cancer via a major wire service or his verifiable personal website). Is it incumbent on Wikinews to wait until another news organization first reports on the content of said release, in order to establish two-factor authentication, or does the fact one is reporting based on a primary source establish this report as original reporting (with obvious compositional caveats, such as "according to a statement issued by Justin Bieber, he has testicular cancer" instead of "Justin Bieber has testicular cancer")?
  • I, as a WN contributor, file a FOIA request which causes retrieval of newsworthy documents. Can I report on the content of said documents, or, do I have to provide them to two other news organizations, first wait for them to (maybe) report on them, and then report at WN on other news organizations reporting on my documents (as opposed to reporting on them directly myself)?

If the answer to either of these scenarios is "wait for tertiary corroboration by real news outlets" doesn't that mean Wikinews is a news aggregator instead of a news source? Or does it mean WN has determined there is a hierarchy of news outlets and WN sits at the bottom of that hierarchy for credibility and reliability, so much so that it is unable to break news but can only "me too" it? Either is fine, I just want to be clarify the consensus as to the philosophical standards we're employing. LavaBaron (talk) 16:43, 15 April 2016 (UTC)Reply

@LavaBaron: The difference lies in what the Wikinews reporter contributes to the report. Your second example sounds like OR to me, your first example when lacking a second source doesn't even rise to the level of synthesis. We don't publish press releases; there's no way to provide neutrality when you're getting all your information from the party who, by the very nature of press releases, is pushing their own view of things. A good synthesis article does add value because we sort things out and provide a neutral, accurate, and in the best cases especially informative treatment of the story; and those extras that make synthesis worthwhile need multiple mutually independent sources. Good original reporting, though, also involves going out and getting the information — essentially, legwork. Data mining, if there's enough involved, can count as OR; for example (pokes around a bit to find it...)
It's sometimes hard to know just where to draw the line. When does analysis of a just-released document become OR, and if it isn't OR, how independent do sources need to be to satisfy that requirement for OR? Coverage of the release of a scientific paper is sometimes difficult because of a lack of timely independent sourcing — though Wikinewsies have sometimes solved that problem by contacting one or more of the scientists involved and producing an interview. Synthesis based on a scientific paper release does sometimes work out nicely, though, e.g.
--Pi zero (talk) 18:09, 15 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
I never suggested WN "publish press releases". Reputable news sources don't "publish press releases" but they do absolutely "source information from press releases". There is a difference between sourcing content to a press release and publishing a press release. In some cases, a person making an official statement is news. The statement itself may not be news, but the fact they have made a statement is news. If Justin Bieber issues an official statement that he has testicular cancer, Justin Bieber making a statement he has testicular cancer is - by point of fact - news (this is different from Justin Bieber having testicular cancer). We only need demonstrate Justin Bieber made the statement, not that he, in fact, has testicular cancer. In this example, there will be no information that a reputable news outlet would report on other than Bieber's statement as they obviously can't enterprise Bieber's medical records or interview his physician. If Gallup Polling announces, via a press release, its latest survey shows Bernie Sanders is 70-points ahead in New York, the fact Gallup Polling - a notable organization - has made this announcement is itself news. To suggest reputable news organizations ignore these types of releases, or only report on them after reviewing the raw data from Gallup themselves, demonstrates an astonishing ignorance of how newsgathering/reporting works.
Your second example of scientific journals is also a bit silly. It is pro forma for news outlets to report on the publication of new research that has, itself, been published in a peer-reviewed journal. If a piece of research is published in Journal of the American Medical Association, we can't acknowledge that it has been published or exists until CNN first acknowledges it exists? The article "Of cabbages and things: Dutch researchers study wasp hyperparasitoid" could have simply been sourced to PLOS Biology (if the quotes were eviscerated). It's not necessary to have double-confirmation that PLOS Biology wrote the article in question when anyone can view PLOS Biology and confirm the act (publication) occurred. This is different from reporting on a fire in Detroit where no one can confirm the act (the fire) occurred without viewing it and source double-confirmation would be necessary. Sourcing exists in news reporting to confirm an "act" occurred. A statement or publication are "acts" and can be verified by observation the statement or publication occurred just as much visual observance of a protest would be OR of the "act" of protest. There seems to be a high degree of confusion here regarding very, very basic journalistic M.O.
Using these very unlearned and journalistically confused and unexperienced standards appropriate for encylcopedia-building (such as WP), but inappropriate for news gathering, casts WN as a collecting place for news precises. A precis is fine but news sources aren't simply collections of precises. LavaBaron (talk) 19:37, 15 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
From your response, it appears I misjudged you. Perhaps I'm just too optimistic. I supposed you wanted to understand better how Wikinews works (and perhaps even why). Your response suggests you're just bullshitting, though. I'm not going to waste my time trying to correct misconceptions by someone who's systematically inventing new ones. --Pi zero (talk) 21:53, 15 April 2016 (UTC)Reply

Representation and publication


If I want to do original reporting, the policy instructs me to tell a source that I represent myself as independent reporter/researcher, not as part of Wikinews. Then the policy tells me that I can tell a source where such reporting can be published at discretion. If I tell a source that I'm an independent reporter, how am I going to reveal to that person that I'm going to publish one story/interview to Wikinews? --George Ho (talk) 03:37, 11 June 2017 (UTC)Reply

Pinging pi zero. --George Ho (talk) 23:52, 16 June 2017 (UTC)Reply

@George Ho: What is the difficulty? You're an independent reporter, writing an article you hope to publish on Wikinews. I've seen a slew of variations on the contact. There are probably a few publicly visible on talk pages here, though admittedly a lot of them are private on the scoop mailing list. (The only one I was able to lay my hands on quickly is a relatively low-key example. As I recall, brianmc's first-contact emails tend to mention Wikinews in the first or second sentence; but I don't happen to have an example at my fingertips.) --Pi zero (talk) 00:09, 17 June 2017 (UTC)Reply

This page might benefit from informing the reporter that making a recording of someone's voice without their consent may be illegal in addition to against WN policy. Darkfrog24 (talk) 19:00, 15 March 2019 (UTC)Reply

No, it depends on the country's laws. And might as well qualify for FU in various countries where there is freedom of press. (talk) 19:02, 15 March 2019 (UTC)Reply
Return to the project page "Original reporting".