The news is broken, well at least this is what the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales is claiming.
He is also claiming, that he knows how to fix it. And a community-based news site, which has professional journalist and community members working to not only author and add news, but also to fact check it and make it a living artifact of sorts.
WikiTRIBUNE, as it is called. Is looking to hire 10 journalists for the task and will depend on rest of the heavy lifting by the community members, just like in the case of Wikipedia. Since it will be advertisement free, those community members will also have to support the WikiTRIBUNE by contributing to it financially.
Creating a news agency which is run by the community and for the community with a handful of journalist paid to do the work and rest volunteering.
Even though the concept itself sounds interesting and there is a dire need for news to reach the earlier level of credibility and reliance. It does raise a couple of interesting questions.
Wouldn’t such fact checking dependent on community members and only a handful of staff delay publication of the news?
After all, in a world, where there are deadlines to be kept and even the traditional news agencies with hundreds of people on the payroll are struggling to be the first source of reliable information. How will WikiTRIBUNE ensure that its stories get out in time to stay relevant and not become stale by the time they are published?
Can we really trust community-sourced news from founders of Wikipedia?
Wikipedia has been accused of listing false and at times even malicious information. After all, a community-based resource, which can be edited by anyone, is obviously prone to such tactics. And since it is nearly impossible for Wikipedia or any other organization to fact-check everything that goes on such a large website and bias does exist in the volunteer editors, such a thing is a more common occurrence than you would think.
This is especially true in the case of highly disputed topics and people looking to defame others.
Take the case of John Seigenthaler, who as per his Wikipedia biography (which was live for 132 days), was supposed to be a part of Kennedy assassinations of both John, and his brother, Bobby.
“John Seigenthaler Sr. was the assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the early 1960’s. For a brief time, he was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John, and his brother, Bobby. Nothing was ever proven.” (Source)
Of course, these are just a couple of apprehensions I have about this project. Something I am sure the founders must be aware of as well and will hopefully be doing something to address it.
Because at the end of the day, fake news has become a huge problem lately and while it needs to be fixed. We need to make sure, it isn’t just being replaced by another opinionated piece.