Wikinews needs to attract more people to write more content to attract more people to write more content. One successful way to attract people is to provide them links to work on things that intrigue them. Currently, the only links we provide to a chance visitor are links to finished stories. What I propose is a system of building stories in steps which would allow much more content to be published without quality suffering. It would also provide a straight-forware workflow for improving the stories. Any of the steps can be skipped, and they may not apply to original reporting.
Step 1: Headline
When you find a story, put it in a daily list of headlines and provide links to some sources, and links to relevant articles on Wikipedia. Some template magic can be used to transclude the list to the individual portals with only relevant links showing, without the need to create pages:
For example, this is a list of headlines from user:Zocky/newslist edit, showing all headlines in that list. Click on the small links in brackets to go to "portals" where headlines are filtered to show only links relevant to that portal.
- The trial of Saddam Hussein resumes, and is then postponed write ( Politics · Middle East · Iraq )
· Saddam Hussein · Iraq · Iraq war · Al Jazeera · VOA ·
- Mine explosion in China kills scores write ( Other news · Asia · China )
· China · Mining · China Daily · The Guardian ·
- EUROMED summit on terrorism ends with a last-minute deal write ( Politics · Europe · Middle East )
· European Union · Mediterranean · Terrorism · Reuters · Al Jazeera ·
- Sri Lankan president offers talks to Tamil Tigers write ( Politics · Asia · Sri Lanka )
· Sri Lanka · Tamil Tigers · Mahinda Rajapakse · Colombo Page · The Hindu · BBC ·
These headlines would be displayed on the main page and on portals, allowing the user to click a link to start writing an article. The list would be replaced daily.
Step 2: News digest
The next step is to write a short article, a paragraph is enough, more is better. This article should recount the gist of the story as read in other media and provide links to relevant pages on wikipedia, as well as external links and sources.
Most stories will probably end up at this stage, which is not bad. They would in fact provide a very good service to readers who want a short digest of the day's news with links to sources and background information to investigate, if they're interested in the particular story.
This stories should also be displayed on the main page and other appropriate portals. Their lifespan there should be relatively short, a day or two.
Step 3: Feature
Features should be the ultimate level a story can reach. A story becomes a feature when it offers more than just a good digest of other media: it should have content like brilliant prose, information from wikipedia, original reporting, free pictures, data charts, quotes, etc.
These will often take days to write, so they should be written and treated like weekly magazine stories and be displayed on portals for a week.