Wikipedia founder aims to 'fix the news' with crowd-funded website
Apr 26 2017 by Kristina Bennett
The Wikipedia founder is setting up WikiTribune, an online news publication which focuses on fact-checking, using a combination of paid journalists and contributions from the community.
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is to launch Wikitribune, a news site aiming to tackle the idea that "the news is broken and we can fix it", in the face of problems that Facebook and others have had in curbing the spread of false information. "
"So, it's the monthly supporters who will be able to determine what are the topics we are going to cover.
Both Google and Facebook have pledged to improve the tools that monitor for such content, but Mr Wales says Wikitribune will also try and lower the news media's reliance on advertising through its monthly supports programme.
Wales, who sits on the board of Guardian Media Group, the Guardian's parent company, founded Wikipedia with Larry Sanger in 2001, before donating the entire project to a non-profit organisation, the Wikimedia Foundation, that he set up in 2003.
Like "Wikipedia "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia, the platform is free, and will bring together professional journalists and a community of volunteers and supporters to produce news articles".
The impulse for establishing Wikitribune came in the wake of Donald Trump's election, Wales said.
Jeff Howe, a journalist who coined the term crowdsourcing and now is a professor at Northeastern University, said this system can be positive for the news industry.
Wales plans to pay his forthcoming journalists with "support packages" from a crowdfunding campaign launching today, April 25.
If you've been sentient for the past year or so, you'll nearly certainly have heard the phrase "fake news", or perhaps "alternative facts".
The journalists meanwhile will be expected to be completely transparent in the way they conduct themselves with all transcripts and interviews released for scrutiny by the public.
Through this process, the news "becomes a living, evolving artifact, which is what the internet was made for", Wales said in the video. "But I would love to start with a lot more - 10 to 20".
Part of the problem is that while journalists-and concerned observers like Wales-see the rise of "fake news" as a serious social problem, and are committed to helping find ways to combat it, it's not clear that non-journalists feel the same kind of impulse.
Currently, the publication is looking to raise sufficient capital to hire ten full-time professional journalists.
The same model is being used in Wikipedia, which is known for its inaccuracy when it comes to facts and is considered the worst place to source news and facts from by professionals.