Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales (shown) is launching an innovative news website called Wikitribune to combat “fake news” by creating a partnership between professional journalists and a community of volunteer contributors. Readers will be able to suggest edits to the news aricles. This “open-source” model of news reporting borrows more than a little from the model of Wikipedia.
Wikitribune will “cover general issues, such as US and UK politics, through to specialist science and technology,” according to The Guardian. The Wikitribune website — which does not yet contain any news articles — describes the goal of the site as fixing broken news by “bringing genuine community control to our news with unrestricted access for all.” The site says:
The news is broken and we can fix it. We’re bringing genuine community control to our news with unrestricted access for all. We’re developing a living, breathing tool that’ll present accurate information with real evidence, so that you can confidently make up your own mind.
Wales told The Guardian that he had intended to put his plan to combat “fake news”on hold, but changed his mind on the first day of Trump’s presidency. “Someone I know convinced me to give Trump 100 days before making my mind up,” he said, “but then on day one Kellyanne Conway came out and said her ‘alternative facts’ line. That was when I really decided to move forward.” The plan to accomplish his goal of fixing the news and bringing “accurate information with real evidence” is to allow greater community involvement by allowing readers to suggest edits, which will only go “live” after approval by site administrators:
In most news sites, the community tends to hang at the bottom of articles in comments that serve little purpose. We believe the community can play a more important role in news. Wikitribune puts community at the top, literally.
Articles are authored, fact-checked, and verified by professional journalists and community members working side by side as equals, and supported not primarily by advertisers, but by readers who care about good journalism enough to become monthly supporters.
The site will initially be funded by a crowdfunding campaign. If enough money is raised to begin with a crew of 10 paid journalists, the site will go live and will rely on supporters instead of advertisers. While asserting that advertisers will not have a stake in what is and is not published (since there won’t be any advertisers), the site says:
Wikitribune is 100% ad-free, no one’s relying on clicks to appease advertisers; no one’s got a vested interest in anything other than giving you real news. There’s no paywall, so anyone can read Wikitribune. Anyone…