Wikipedia Guru Launches News Site, 'Wikitribune'

John Lister's picture

The man behind Wikipedia is to launch a news service based around the goals of being factual and neutral. Wikitribune will combine elements of Wikipedia and traditional news reporting.

Jimmy Wales says the key to the site is that it will neither charge a subscription fee nor chase advertising. With the majority of ad revenues based on page views, Wales believes the the big problem now is that reporters deliberately skimp on accuracy for the sake of sensationalism, or provoke readers with inflammatory headlines as they "chase clicks," which in turn creates more page views. (Source:

The site will be free to use, but readers will be able to sign up as monthly supporters for a donation. Wales says this money will pay for journalists, but there needs to be enough money for at least 10 in order for the project to go ahead.

Full Interview Transcripts Available

Reporters on the site will be required to back up every fact stated in an article with a link to a relevant and reliable source. If they carry out interviews for a story, they will need to make the full transcript and recordings available to readers. (Source:

One possible downside is that this means reporters may not be able to use information that is genuine but provided by inside sources who are unwilling or unable to speak on the record.

As with Wikipedia and similar sites, readers will be able to use 'wiki' software to make edits, corrections and clarifications to articles, as well as changing the wording to make it more neutral and remove bias or opinion. However, unlike Wikipedia, these changes won't take immediate effect. Instead, staff will review the suggested changes before deciding whether to apply them.

Readers Can Nominate Topics For Specialist Reporter

The decision of which stories to cover will be left to the staff. However, monthly supporters will be able to list topics that particularly interest them. If enough people mention the same topic, Wikitribune will hire a reporter who will then be dedicated to covering that topic.

Part of the logic behind the move is to bridge the gap between traditional media and social media sites. The idea is to combine the editorial and writing skills of professional reporters with the "wisdom of crowds" by which the public can bring additional facts, perspectives or context to a story.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you think such a news site will be more reliable than traditional media? Can it succeed financially when relying on reader donations? Is there a risk that while the content of individual stories is accurate and fair, the overall selection of which stories to cover creates or reflects a bias?

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gmthomas44_4203's picture

"The decision of which stories to cover will be LEFT to the staff"
Is that a harbinger of the INTENT?
Will the content be open to 're-arrangement' as in Wikipedia?

Sparkydog's picture

Wikipedia, and anything "Wiki" have not been very neutral, why would one think "Wiki-tribune" would be?

Watcher007's picture

The jury is still out on this proposed new site. I'm not sure why I would trust the man behind Wikipedia to report the news fairly when I've personally seen edits to topics that were corrected multiple times to depict the truth only to be changed back to lies.

The concept is superb and I hope it succeeds, but I remain skeptical until proven otherwise. How nice would it be to not have to spend countless hours researching a story that sets off your BS meter.

It sure would be great to have something akin to days of old when reporters were bound to verify their story from 2 to 3 different reliable sources before putting it to print and just the straight news story with no bias either way; allowing the reader to form their own opinions.

ecash's picture

There are problems with this..
WHERE do you get the news?
EDIT others articles??

So 2nd and 3rd hand news??

Clean up OTHERS extravagant, explanations??
remove the Could have, would have, might have, probably...and OTHER words that have NO REASON to be in the news??

Makes the news REALLY short.

HOW about Straighten out Lawyer speak..WOW, what an accomplishment..
Sorting out WHAT is said, with WHAT is happening with LAWS/bills created
Like Watching Consumer protections DROP, looking back to WHY and WHEN they were created..
And thinking CORPS would not do that...

HallBryant's picture

The concept is excellent, but I am not sure Wiki is a suitably unbiased vehicle
for such as this.

Chief's picture

He who pays the piper calls the tunes.
This site (if it can survive) will quickly become (degenerate?) into whatever the supporters dictate.
The "news" of today typically consists of click-bait headlines with an incredible amount of hyperbole and no substance.

Like the Missouri River, they are "A mile wide and an inch deep."

This is a great concept, but unless one has a pretty deep pocket and a strong ethos to truth it won't change a thing.

Money talks.
Big money talks influentially.

Always follow the money.