Making WikiNews work…

In an interview with CNET’s news.com, Jimmy Wales, one of the founders of WikiPedia, talks about the new WikiNews project.

In the article, Wales talks about the problems with traditional news media and how to make content credible. It seems that the goal of WikiNews is to provide an online, free content news source in a similar vein to what WikiPedia has accomplished as an online free content encyclopedia.

If “official” media can’t deliver less-biased news (signficantly in the post-9/11 US), then maybe a dynamic group authoring a news story, albeit no-less biased, may better represent the different interpretations of current events. The reader, then, would construct their own understanding of current events, presented with several available sources.

In a center-modal-periphery model of how we understand things, this makes WikiNews a better constructivist tool for assembling our understanding of current events.

What’s interesting to me is how WikiNews is getting people to freely contribute, collaboratively author, verify, request and cycle news items. They’re combining the authorship and timeliness of a blog, with an open-contribution system of authorship of a wiki. Bold experiment, but it seems to me like a smart way to go, and I may even try and contribute if there’s something I can add value to.

Please read on to get some details as to how WikiNews develops news items.

The divisions WikiNews makes in terms of drafting and verifying news items are as follows:

* _Developing stories_ – These are articles which are still very incomplete and need to be worked on. Authors (contributors) may add new information to them.
* _Copyedit needed_ – Stories that are otherwise complete but need minor adjustments.
* _Requested articles_ – Unwritten requests for news stories. News requests older than seven days are subject to removal. Anyone may request an article.
* _Ongoing disputes_ – Accuracy of the content of the articles in this category is questionable.
* _Abandoned articles_ – These are reports which were never finished and which have not been improved for at least seven days. Abandoned articles are subject to deletion.