In order for Wikinews contributors to be recognized as members of the press by third parties, they need to receive press credentials. The usual method is for a journalist to file a request for a press pass with an organization (such as a sporting arena, government or corporate office, etc.). In doing so, they would be expected to present credentials, or have a letter of introduction from a member of the editorial staff.
The target organization verifies the presented credentials with the news outlet, and following a selection process, issues a press pass to the journalist. The press pass usually allows free access to an event, or priority access to normally off-limits areas.
Wikinews users would need to be officially vouched for by the project; essentially, this is carried out by the community. The privileged access that comes with press access is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Thus, Wikinews has a process for accreditation, and the revocation of such.
Expiration – Accreditation of Wikinews reporters will be valid for a two-year period (rounded up to the closest June or December) after issuance of permanent credentials. Every June and December, active and accredited users whose credentials are expiring will be subjected to a vote of confidence; effectively determining they retain the community's trust. During this biennial renewal process any accredited, but inactive, Wikinews reporters will automatically have their accreditation revoked. A belated appeal to retain credentials, where there is no history of activity in the prior six to twelve months, is not grounds to retain credentials. A reasonable sustained period of contribution would be required to reestablish community trust and have new credentials issued.
Policy for accreditation
Wikinews users need to request accreditation from the community prior to filing any request with a third party. The accreditation request should take the form of an entry on this page, signed and dated. It must include a description of types of planned uses of credentials. The request must also include the user's real name, as that will likely be used by the third party verifying the journalist's bona-fides. A good request will also point to articles the requesting user has created on Wikinews.
- In some circumstances, particularly where reporting on issues that might see an accredited reporter harassed, stalked, or legally threatened, a would-be reporter may identify to the Wikimedia Foundation or a project Bureaucrat, and have such agree a plausible pseudonym. (Example: Eric Arthur Blair, a noted author and journalist, who is far, far better known by his pen-name George Orwell.)
Upon posting a credentialling request, a user may solicit Support/Object votes from the active community. Such a process will be open for not less than seven days to permit appropriate review of the application and applicant's contribution history.
Accreditation criteria include, but are not limited to:
- Being an established, and published, Wikinews contributor. (Or a contributor to another Wikimedia Foundation project who is in good standing there).
- Having started, and substantially contributed to, several Wikinews articles; or, a corpus of quality contributions elsewhere on Wikimedia Foundation projects.
- Demonstrable commitment to NPOV, as shown by contributions and the text of the application.
- This is particularly important for original reporting – the implicit goal of accreditation.
A prior track record of being a published journalist, with examples, may also be considered. Editorial, or Op-Ed, work elsewhere is likely to be viewed with less weight; such is not in line with the project's Neutral Point of View policy.
Approval requires the consensus of the voting community members. Only registered Wikinews users' votes are counted in the final tally.
Wikinews will generate a printable image of a personalized Wikinews Press ID Card. It is the credentialled reporter's responsibility to produce this (say, by printing and laminating). At this time, Wikinews cannot provide the quality of reporter identification that would provide the greatest degree of professionalism, and security. At a future point, there may be a cost associated with successful accreditation to allow the production of identification which includes security features to reassure venues, interview subjects, and so on.
Policy for processing verification requests
Wikinews credential verification is performed by the verifying party who visits a protected page listing community-accepted users with Wikinews credentials.
The protected page will be maintained by Wikinews administrators and bureaucrats.
Policy for revocation of credentials
A reporter's Wikinews credentials may be revoked for abuse of any access or privileges obtained, for significant violations of the NPOV policy. Or, if a user is seen as abusing privilege through actions that can be construed as misleading the project's community, any organisation granting privileged access, or otherwise jeopardising future privileged access for other accredited reporters, then any established community member may file a request for the revocation of a reporter's credentials. Similar to a deletion request for a page, the user requesting credential revocation must justify the request, and organize a two-week vote to establish community consensus. A reporter's credentials may be immediately revoked upon administrator or bureaucrat review of a request from the Wikimedia Board of Trustees which meets the criteria herein.