User:DouglasGreen

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I am a new wikijournalist and I like this site. Everyday I visit Wikinews and the number and quality of articles just keeps increasing. I look forward to the day when Wikinews is a major source of neutral point-of-view (NPOV) news that competes with major news outlets for stories. I am a believer in the wiki concept and I think it is powerful. The concept of anyone being a potential Wikinews reporter means we can have eyewitnesses on the ground anywhere, which would result in widespread coverage.

I think that there is a lot of bias in the Mainstream Media and there always has been. That however is not the reason why I am here. Journalists are entitled to their interests and beliefs just like anyone else--they are entitled to have an opinion. But I think the open dialog process of creating Wikinews articles has the best potential for restraining bias and representing the collective intelligence of multiple points of view.

I am located in Gainesville in North Central Florida so if anyone gets a "hot scoop" in this area you may wish to send it my way.

As a new member, I welcome feedback on my articles and corrections to articles. Let's all work together to make this site a success!

"With its vast and direct influence on public opinion, journalism cannot be guided only by economic forces, profit, and special interest. It must instead be felt as a mission in a certain sense sacred, carried out in the knowledge that the powerful means of communication have been entrusted to you for the good of all." (Pope John Paul II)

"With regard to my factual reporting of events... I have made it a principle not to write down the first story that came my way, and not even to be guided by my own general impressions; either I was present myself at the events which I have described or else heard of them from eye witnesses whose reports I have checked with as much thoroughness as possible. Not that even so the truth was easy to discover: different eye witnesses gave different accounts of the same events, speaking out of partiality for one side or the other, or else from imperfect memories." (Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War)

"The parallels between The Hitchhiker's Guide (as found in Adams' original BBC radio series and novels) and Wikipedia are so striking, it's a wonder that the author's rabid fans don't think he invented time travel. Since its editor was perennially out to lunch, the Guide was amended 'by any passing stranger who happened to wander into the empty offices on an afternoon and saw something worth doing.' This anonymous group effort ends up outselling Encyclopedia Galactica even though 'it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate.'" (Paul Boutin, Slate)

My Portfolio[edit]

June, 2005[edit]

May, 2005[edit]

March-April, 2005[edit]

News Services[edit]

News Search[edit]

news.google.com - Google News
news.yahoo.com - Yahoo News

Conservative Opinion[edit]

rushlimbaugh.com - Rush Limbaugh (EIB Network)
nationalreview.com - National Review
townhall.com - Town Hall
opinionjournal.com - WSJ Opinion Journal
humaneventsonline.com - Human Events Online

Independent Sites[edit]

drudgereport.com - Drudge Report
worldnetdaily.com - World Net Daily
newsmax.com - NewsMax.com
frontpagemag.com - FrontPage Magazine

Participative Sites[edit]

theworldforum.org - The World Forum
lucianne.com - Lucianne

Public Domain News[edit]

voanews.com - Voice of America
pdtimes.com - Public Domain Times

Polling Organizations[edit]

zogby.com - Zogby.com
people-press.org - Pew Research Center

Think Tanks[edit]

Note: source for most labeling of political alignment comes from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a media watch group.

nira.go.jp - NIRA's World Directory of Think Tanks
brookings.edu - The Brookings Institution (centrist)
cfr.org - Council on Foreign Relations (centrist)
heritage.org - Heritage Foundation (conservative)
aei.org - American Enterprise Institute (conservative)
csis.org - Center for Strategic and International Studies (conservative)
cato.org - Cato Institute (conservative/libertarian)
epinet.org - Economic Policy Institute (progressive)
rand.org - RAND Corporation (center-right)
carnegieendowment.org - Carnegie Endowment (centrist)
urban.org - Urban Institute (center-left)
hoover.stanford.edu - Hoover Institution (conservative)
frc.org - Family Research Council (conservative)
cbpp.org - Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (progressive)
ppic.org - Public Policy Institute of California (centrist)
nber.org - National Bureau of Economic Research (centrist)
washingtoninstitute.org - Washington Institute for Near East Policy (center-right)
manhattan-institute.org - Manhattan Institute (conservative)
cdi.org - Center for Defense Information (progressive)
cartercenter.org - Carter Center (centrist)
publicintegrity.org - Center for Public Integrity (progressive)
iie.com - Institute for International Economics (centrist)
hudson.org - Hudson Institute (conservative)
ips-dc.org - Institute for Policy Studies (progressive)
aspeninstitute.org - Aspen Institute (centrist)
ppionline.org - Public Policy Institute (centrist)

newamericancentury.org - New American Century (neo-conservative)

Not News[edit]

theonion.com - The Onion

RSS Feeds[edit]

Indexes[edit]

rssgov.com - RSS in Government
FirstGov - US Government RSS Library rssfeeds.com - RSS Feeds search engine

Feeds[edit]

Al Jazeera (English)
AP Top Headines
BBC News | Front Page | UK Edition
Christian Science Monitor | All Stories
CNET News
CNN Most Popular Stories]
Discovery Channel News
Drudge Report Archives - Popular Headlines
FoxNews.com - US and World
Free Republic: News and Activism
Guardian Unlimited
InfoWorld: Top News
MSNBC.com: News
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Press Releases
New Scientist - Latest Headlines
NPR Topics: News
NYT Homepage
NYT Home Page
OpinionJournal.com
PBS News Hour
People-Press.org Reports
PR Watch
Reuters: Top News
Scotsman.com News
Slashdot
State Dept - Press Releases
The Register
The Smoking Gun
UN News Service
USATODAY.com News - Top Stories
US Dept of Defense News Releases
US Newswire Releases
US News & World Report
Voice of America News
Watching Justice
Wired News
Yahoo News: Top Stories

Email Alerts[edit]

junkscience.com - Junk Science
wwrn.org - World-Wide Religious News

Useful Sources[edit]

US Politics and Government[edit]

Federal Government[edit]

cspan.org - C-SPAN.org
census.gov - Census Bureau
cia.gov - Central Intelligence Agency
publicintegrity.org - Center for Public Integrity
opensecrets.org - Center for Responsible Politics
fema.gov - Federal Emergency Management Association
archives.gov - US National Archives and Records Administration
firstgov.gov - FirstGov
gao.gov - General Accounting Office
gpoaccess.gov - Government Printing Office Access
mspb.gov - Merit Systems Protection Board
state.gov - State Department
thomas.loc.gov - THOMAS
whitehouse.gov - White House

Political Parties[edit]

gop.com - GOP.com
democrats.org - Democrats.org
lp.org - Libertarian Party

State Government[edit]

ncsl.org - National Conference of State Legislatures
nga.org - National Governors Association
stateline.org - Stateline.org
myflorida.com - MyFlorida.com
followthemoney.org - Follow The Money

International[edit]

un.org - United Nations
who.int - World Health Organization
amnesty.org - Amnesty International
transparency.org - Transparency International
cia/publications/factbook - CIA World Factbook

Education[edit]

ed.gov - Dept of Education
nces.ed.gov - National Center for Education Statistics
collegeboard.com - College Board

Environment[edit]

epa.gov - Environmental Protection Agency
usgs.gov - US Geological Survey
sierraclub.org - Sierra Club
scorecard.org - Scorecard.org

Law/Criminal Justice[edit]

supremecourtus.gov - US Supreme Court
usdoj.gov - US Dept of Justice
usdoj.gov/marshals US Marshals Service
fbi.gov - Federal Bureau of Investigation
trac.syr.edu - Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
martindale.com - Martindale.com (lawyer locater)

Military[edit]

defenselink.mil - US Dept of Defense
af.mil - US Air Force
army.mil US Army
usmc.mil - US Marines
navy.mil - US Navy
uscg.mil - US Coast Guard

Transportation[edit]

dot.gov - US Dept of Transportation
ntsb.gov - National Transportation Safety Board
faa.gov - Federal Aviation Administration
nhtsa.dot.gov - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Business[edit]

sec.gov - Securities and Exchange Commission (visit EDGAR)
hoovers.com - Hoover's Online
dismalscience.com - Dismal Science (economics, if you must ask)

Health and Medicine[edit]

hhs.gov - US Dept of Health and Human Services
nim.nih.gov/medlineplus - National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE

Science[edit]

nsf.gov - National Science Foundation
nas.edu - National Academy of Sciences

Sports[edit]

nfl.com - National Football League
mlb.com - Major League Baseball

Other[edit]

factcheck.org - FactCheck.org
maps.google.com - Google Maps
mapquest.com - MapQuest
weather.com - Weather.com
first.gov.gov/Topics/Graphics.shtml - U.S. Government Graphics and Photos

Resources[edit]

Journalism[edit]

ire.org - Investigative Reporters and Editors
journalism.org - Journalism.org
honestreporting.com - Honest Reporting
sourcewatch.org - SourceWatch, formerly Disinfopedia

Wiki Resources[edit]

Wikinews[edit]

Special:Categories
Special:Listusers
Special:Listadmins
Special:Statistics - note: I hope there are more than 0 page views

Wikinews:The Newsroom
Wikinews:Writing an article
Wikinews:Style guide
Wikinews:Public domain news sources
Wikinews:Reference desk

Wikistats - statistics all about Wikinews; informative - check this out!

Wikipedia[edit]

Wikipedia:Research resources
Wikipedia:GNU Free Documentation License resources
Wikipedia:Free or semi-free non-Public-Domain information resources
Wikipedia:Public domain image resources
Wikipedia:Maps

Wikimedia Meta-Wiki[edit]

Help:Interwiki linking

Article Template[edit]

Here is a template for an average article, including a breakdown of source material that is intended to be for temporary use during writing of articles to arrange facts without confusion.

{{date|DATE}}

[[Image:PICTURE NAME HERE.EXT|thumb|250px|CAPTION HERE ''Source: [LINK TO SOURCE]'']]

Text goes here

== Major Header ==

Text goes here

=== Minor Header ==

Text goes here

== Sources ==

Sources for which you have an URL, listed in descending date order with newest first, for example:

*{{source|url=
|pub=
|title=
|author=
|date=}}

== Press Releases ==

I have personally decided to keep press releases in a separate category from sources

* DATE: [http://hyperlink Title of Press Release]

== References ==

Supposed to be sources for which you do not have an URL; however, I have decided instead to make this links to non-news sources, such as Wikipedia articles from which I have drawn factual information

== Related Stories ==

Older articles on Wikinews

* DATE: [[Name of typical wikinews article]]

== External Links ==

Links to other non-wiki websites for deeper exploration.

Categories are simply listed at the bottom of an article, without being contained in a section. For an up-to-date list of categories to use, see User:CGorman/Categories, from which this information was copied for convenient reference.

ALL articles must contain a Topical and a Regional category. These categories are used to present the latest articles to the readers. Please also add Continent, Country, Topic, Subtopic to all articles.

Topical

[[Category:Crime and law]]
[[Category:Culture and entertainment]]

[[Category:Religion]]
[[Category:Film]]
[[Category:Music]]
[[Category:Television]]

[[Category:Disasters and accidents]]
[[Category:Economy and business]]
[[Category:Environment]]
[[Category:Health]]
[[Category:Obituaries]]
[[Category:Politics and conflicts]]
[[Category:Science and technology]]
[[Category:Sports]]

[[Category:Baseball]]
[[Category:Basketball]]
[[Category:Cricket]]
[[Category:Football (soccer)]]

[[Category:Wackynews]]

Regional

[[Category:Africa]]
[[Category:Asia]]
[[Category:Europe]]

[[Category:Germany]]
[[Category:Ireland]]
[[Category:Italy]]
[[Category:Romania]]
[[Category:Russia]]
[[Category:Spain]]
[[Category:United Kingdom]]

[[Category:Oceania]]
[[Category:North America]]

[[Category:United States]]

[[Category:South America]]

Article Resources (temporary, delete when article written)

- Possible images to use

- Direct quotations

- Proper names and terms of interest

- Useful facts

- Inaccuracies in source material

- Opinions

- Questions

Email templates[edit]

Here are a couple of e-mail templates intended to be sent to two sides of a controversy about which something has been reported. The basic template of the first two emails was written by myself and extended by some others, but this version is mine. If you wish to borrow these e-mails, note a couple of facts.

  1. I link to the draft of the Wikinews article, which is self-accrediting (they can see the article and how fair it is). This accomplishes the objective of gaining their trust. I have heard that some professional journalists make a practice of showing a draft of their article to people they are interviewing for the same reason.
  2. I have represented myself and this site honestly and accurately.
  3. I asked for evidence, particularly of the kind that enhances our articles and their presentation.
  4. If someone wishes to borrow these e-mail templates, I suggest that they be posted to the discussion page of the article under draft for feedback before they are sent, in order to eliminate bias in questioning and "leave no stone unturned".

Email #1[edit]

To: First Lastname <email@address.com>
From: Douglas Green <me@address.com>

Mr. Lastname,

I am an independent journalist with Wikinews. Our site is working on an article pertaining to <topic of article> (draft version of our article is located at http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Title_of_article).

In a recent news article from <source>, <some interesting or controversial event happened about which public sources of information are inadequate> (<source> article is located at http://www.website.com/article_location). The article states, <what the article said>.

I have a few questions I would like to ask of you:

1. Can you please confirm your statements as reported above?

2. Do you have specific examples of <the stuff> you described above?

3. Have you gathered any evidence of <this stuff>, such as pictures or video? If you have, would you be able or willing to allow Wikinews to publish any of this evidence?

4. Are there any other aspects of this story you think we should be covering, which we do not already have? That is, what else do you think is important?

I wanted to thank you for your time in considering this message.

Regards,
Douglas Green
me@address.com
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/User:DouglasGreen

Email #2[edit]

To: Organization Name <other_side@controversy.com>
From: Douglas Green <me@address.com>

Organization Name Media Contact,

I am an independent journalist with Wikinews. Our site is working on an article pertaining to <topic of article> (draft version of our article is located at http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Title_of_article).

In a recent news article from <source>, <some interesting or controversial event happened about which public sources of information are inadequate> (<source> article is located at http://www.website.com/article_location). The article states, <what the article said>.

1. Can you confirm or deny the allegations by <that person> in the news report above?

2. Do you have any evidence or reason which show these allegations may be false, such as photos or video?

3. Are there any other aspects of this story you think we should be covering, which we do not already have? That is, what else do you think is important?

I wanted to thank you for your time in considering this message.

Regards,
Douglas Green
me@address.com
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/User:DouglasGreen

Email #3 - Request for image license[edit]

To: Organization Name <org@email.com>
Subject: Request use of image for Wikinews article
Message: Hello,

A Wikinews article (http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Name_of_article) has been written today on <<subject>>. I would like to request permission from you to upload one of your photographic images (http://www.yoursite.com/link/to/image.jpg) to Wikimedia Commons, and use it to illustrate this already-written article.

The Wikinews project, started last year as a companion project to the well-known Wikipedia, is a non-profit source of news stories that currently licenses its articles as public domain, although that may change to GFDL or some other free license once we are out of Beta phase. Although I am a writer of articles for the site, I am not an official representative of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Please note specifically that this request does *not* fall under fair use, as you may expect; the licensing requirements of Wikimedia Commons are very specific to our project, and non-licensed images are subject to removal. The terms of the license, cited at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Licensing, are quoted here for your review:


  • Republication and distribution must be allowed
  • Publication of derivative work must be allowed
  • Commercial use of the work must be allowed
  • Acknowledgement of all authors/contibutors of a work may be required.
  • Publication of derivative work under the same license may be required.
  • Use of open file formats free of digital restrictions management may be required.

The following restrictions must not apply to the image or other media file:

  • Use by Wikimedia only
  • Noncommercial/Educational use only
  • Use under fair use restrictions

Specifically, the following are generally not allowed:

  • Screenshots of software that is itself not under a free license. Screenshots of software under the GPL or a similar free software license are generally considered to be OK.
  • Scans or reproductive photographs of copyrighted artwork, especially book covers, etc
  • Trademarked symbols, Logos, etc

Please advise if I can upload the photograph to the Wikimedia Commons under those terms and use it to illustrate our Wikinews article.

Thank you for your time.

Douglas Green
me@myaddress.com
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/User:DouglasGreen

Definitions of what is "news"[edit]

  • News is the "first draft of history", what will later be in the history books.
  • News is what people will be talking about around the water cooler.
  • News is events that are unusual or strange.
  • News is the exposure of corruption and criminal activity.
  • News is a means to "comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable".
  • News is informing the public about how money and power affect them.
  • News is celebration of public happenings and movements.
  • News is an enabler of democracy by keeping watch on democratic institutions.
  • News is story-telling about human beings and current events.
  • News is an agreed-upon set of facts that drive important public debates.
  • News is a biased attempt to gain power and manipulate public opinion.
  • News is a sacred responsibility to tell the truth without fear or favor.
  • News is a corporate product used to sell laundry detergent.
  • News is whatever journalists and other newsmakers say it is.

Search strategies[edit]

Google tells all[edit]

1. Try to pick sources in different countries, particularly countries that are related to the news event, otherwise you may just end up rehashing the same old AP/Reuters stuff without realizing it. Once you know of several subtopics in a single event, do separate Google news searches

2. Usually you want to search Google News by date, not "relevance", so you can get the latest, most informed sources. Googles topic summaries are for several days, some written as events were gearing up, others as they were winding down. Which is not to say you should ignore articles that are months or years old, they can be particularly helpful in supplying relevant background events that later articles don't even touch.

3. Put phrase in quotation marks if it is an exact phrase

"prime minster" singh

4. Do a site search on Google if you know the site:

site:japantimes.co.jp text to search

5. Search both within and outside the News area of Google, in order to get the most relevant websites as well as news articles, for your "External Links" section.

6. If articles are missing, moved, or deleted, use the Google cache.

7. Another excellent way to keep on top of new developments of interest to you is Google Alerts. Put in your city, county and state, as well as any topic of interest to you (I myself am interested in news from certain countries, as well as fishing for news that is "historic" or "first ever", unique events). Set the news delivery period to Daily or As Develops for hot-ticket items.

8. Image searches can be focused in a specific kind of domain, for example, .gov domains to see if any government related website has an image. An example of a Google image search:

abu ghraib gov

Disclaimer: I don't work for Google... but that's just my tough luck, isn't it? ;-)

Scrounging up press releases[edit]

9. Always look for press releases, because much of the news comes from press releases where you can find more details and fuller government quotes. For national government news, go to the relevant government.

All-you-can-eat RSS feeds[edit]

10. One good way to keep up with the news is RSS feeds. It is better than surfing their website because you can sign up for dozens of diverse feeds and then the news is delivered to you, rather than trying to figure out what is new from their website. You can find RSS links typically from the homepage of the site that interests you; but if that fails, try http://www.rssfeeds.com.

Going back in time[edit]

11. You can get snapshots of old web sites from the Internet Archive "Way Back Machine"; see http://www.waybackmachine.org/ for details.

Checklist for news articles[edit]

Research[edit]

__ Does the article have a variety of sources (at least 2-3 major independent sources minimum for most articles)? Are they reputable? Are they similarly biased in some way? Are at least some of them in the same language as the article?

__ Are original-research articles adequately documented and credible?

__ Did you "look behind the press release" or merely rehash it without critical scrutiny? Press releases from some organizations tend to be politically correct and factually inaccurate pablum written for an uncritical media and public.

__ Does the news focus on recent, hot news events of the past week or so? Or is it a rehash of old events from previous months or years?

__ What is the long-term significance of this event? If it has no long-term significance, perhaps it is better to find another event to write about.

__ How can this event be covered that makes Wikinews better or different than other news outlets? Focus on adding value to the other accounts, where they miss it or leave important background questions unasked.

__ Does this proposed article have any primary information sources (documents, photographs, video) available that you can use to make up your own mind and derive your own focus apart from other media sources?

Writing[edit]

__ Did you take an adequate amount of time to acquaint yourself with the full facts of the story before charging ahead?

__ Is the article appealing, well written, and reasonably presented?

__ Is the style of the article simple and direct, with word choice appropriate for a diverse international audience?

__ Is each paragraph short and does it convey a single point? If not, break apart paragraphs.

__ Are comparisons and contrasts made between experiences and customs of different countries, as appropriate, or have you taken a too-narrow view of a broader subject?

__ Has the public interest been adequately explained to them, in service of the trust that is committed to you as a wikijournalist?

__ Have you considered the possible effect of your article on the people mentioned in it should they hear of the article or read it? Have you respected their legitimate needs of privacy, or held them up to unnecessary ridicule?

__ Did you pass judgment in the article when you should have remained objective? Or did you fail to reach an obvious and necessary conclusion?

__ Does the article falsely represent controversy where there isn't, or consensus where there is none? Does it speak in terms of generalities?

__ Did you fairly identify the party allegiance or sources of financial support of your opinion makers? Identify liberals as well as conservatives.

__ Is your article really commentary or opinion pretending to be news? Are you pretending to expertise that you do not possess? Are you serving a hidden political agenda?

__ Do you carefully distinguish between opinions and approaches you have learned from others, giving them proper credit, and your own ideas? Note that this refers not to facts, which are generally public domain and cannot be copyrighted, but to comparisons, inferences, and judgments that people bring to a subject.

__ Can you add quotes from real people? How about relevant pictures? (Note: it's OK to add neither and go with straight text). The quickest way I have found to get pictures is:

  1. Look at Wikipedia articles. Not all these are compatible with Public Domain license, though.
  2. Look for press releases.
  3. Use Google Image search and look for Public Domain Sources.

__ Does the article tell a story with an attention-grabbing, complete summary at the beginning and a conclusion at the end? Is it bursting at the seams with interesting and vivid facts that nail the story down and put the reader at the scene of events?

Editing[edit]

__ Has the article been spellchecked in the original language/locale (for example, US English versus UK English) and checked for grammar? Verify the spelling of proper names.

__ Have all the facts been double checked? Is each fact relevant in some direct way to the subject?

__ Are the technical or political terms and phrases of the article accurately used?

__ Have all the acronyms (except extremely common ones such as US or UK) been spelled out on their first usage?

__ Are people referenced by their full name and title on first reference, and by their last name and possibly title thereafter? Use pronouns like "he" and "she" only if completely unambiguous.

__ Is the article NPOV? That is, are biased or slanted assertions made in the article that are better off being made by participants in the event, not by a journalist?

__ Are the quotes letter-for-letter accurate? Do they fairly represent the current attitude of the speaker?

__ Does the article plagiarize? Note that our public domain license does not allow the direct importing of other material except for public domain material, including lifting direct text from Wikipedia, which has a different license.

__ Are the less-common and more-relevant proper terms linked to the appropriate articles in Wikipedia or elsewhere, so the reader can immediately dig further?

Organization[edit]

__ Is the article well-organized, and divided into sections and subsections as necessary?

__ Could you better represent some of the information in the article as a table or bulleted list for speedy review? Remember that writing for print, like many of our sources do, is different from writing for the web.

__ Can you represent the sequence of events in the article in careful chronological order? That can be a lot easier to understand than just presenting a jumble of events out of order.

Publishing[edit]

__ Add a date, but not a location, in the header unless you are doing on the spot reporting

__ Add appropriate categories. It's best to re-use the major categories on the Wiki homepage rather than making more up on the spot.

__ Wait a few hours for others to comment and extend, re-read the article with a fresh frame of mind, then move your finished article up to the active articles page if it looks good and ready.