Wikinews:Water cooler/policy/archives/2010/September

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Strategic Planning

The Wikimedia Foundation has begun a year long phase of strategic planning. During this time of planning, members of the community have the opportunity to propose ideas, ask questions, and help to chart the future of the Foundation. In order to create as centralized an area as possible for these discussions, the Strategy Wiki has been launched. This wiki will provide an overview of the strategic planning process and ways to get involved, including just a few questions that everyone can answer. All ideas are welcome, and everyone is invited to participate.

Please take a few moments to check out the strategy wiki. It is being translated into as many languages as possible now; feel free to leave your messages in your native language and we will have them translated (but, in case of any doubt, let us know what language it is, if not english!).

All proposals for the Wikimedia Foundation may be left in any language as well.

Please, take the time to join in this exciting process. The importance of your participation can not be overstated.

--Philippe

(please cross-post widely and forgive those who do)

Dating so Miszabot will archive (project ended months ago) - Amgine | t 20:44, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Timeliness holds Wikinews back

I've never contributed to Wikinews (I'm a Wikipedian), so you may want to take my comments with a pinch of salt. I wonder whether one of the reasons that Wikinews lacks contributors is that one must "Ensure your reporting is timely and the story is at most a week old with sources in the last 2–3 days. Facts don't cease to be facts, but news ceases to be news." This very strict/limited definition of what is "news" mainly limits Wikinews to being a shallow mirror of the latest mainstream news stories, something I've not found to be very attractive. I think attempting to report only current events and breaking news is what is holding Wikinews back, as most amateurs simply lack the resources to act as current-event journalists. In a volunteer environment, getting articles written, edited and approved inside such a tight time frame is difficult. Collaborative editing, which is what a wiki is for, takes time. Many Wikipedia articles on events (Wikipedia being where many potential Wikinews contributors instead end up) are a mess for the first few days, and only develop to be decent articles after some weeks. Outside Wikinews, the definition of what "news" is extends to comment columns, in-depth reports, investigative reporting, etc. etc. I don't expect many investigative journalists to contribute to Wikinews, but I think that magazine-style reporting should have a place here, with articles that take a "long view" on current topics or that cover "under-reported" issues, without the need for them to be "breaking news". As it stands, I don't feel motivated to contribute to Wikinews, and I rarely read it - I'm afraid that the reporting of the mainstream press is usually better and more comprehensive. Fences and windows (talk) 00:51, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

  • Can you sum up the above in three or four sentences? I am an investigative journalist, and a project 'crat. You seem to be criticising what most newsies cut their teeth on. --Brian McNeil / talk 01:56, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
    Impertinent summation (sorry Fences-and-Windows for stomping on your prose):
    • The en.WN time frame for news is too brief.
    • The en.WN sources age is even briefer, and even more onerous.
    • En.WN should encourage analysis, investigative journalism.
    • En.WN should accept columns, editorials, as valid content forms.
    (Note: I separated the final two elements into the two substantially different classes of content which I felt were intended; I may have mis-interpreted.) - Amgine | t 04:21, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Sincerely hope you have minterpreted Amgine. Because, your synopsis can be distilled into one word - Wikiblog. --Brian McNeil / talk 05:56, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
No; the user has some very valid points - for some elements. Wikinews's definition of when is acceptable to write about a news event is too short. It does not allow for an investigative examination of a news event. Some example stories which would not be accepted due to the Wikinews arbitrary timeliness restrictions:
  • Critical examination of the effects of Diebold voting machines + vote challenges on the results of the 2002 - 2008 US national elections. (/. BlackBoxVoting.org, RawStory.com) (Note: Many US elections in 6 weeks will be run on Diebold hardware/software)
  • Follow-up of the 23 CIA operatives convicted of kidnapping and shipping a priest for rendition (John Birch Soc., Islam Online, NYTimes) For example, what is the full list of names, where had they served, where are they serving?
  • In light of the Russian invasion of Georgia, other accusations of involvement assassinations and attempts in the same time frame (123), an investigative report into the death of the Georgian Prime Minister Surab Schwania beginning with why the US domestic police force FBI were called in and declared the death accidental.
Wikinews contributors should be able to work on such in-depth original reporting. - Amgine | t
  • I agree. Wikinews reporters should be able to publish long-term original investigative reporting without the reporting getting a stale tag. It could be labeled Wikinews Investigation or something. Perhaps this should be backed up with a few sources, however. But the core of the story should be original (like the Diebold investigation should be original, but the summary of Diebold's past record should be backed up). --Shankarnikhil88 (talk) 17:03, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
  • We should keep Wikinews' 2-3 day time frame for regular news, but we should keep a longer one for original reports and investigations. We also should promote long original stories over short blurbs. --Shankarnikhil88 (talk) 17:06, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I've come accross old reference to 'in depth' articles getting special treatment on staleness. We could resurrect that, and use the In Dpeth: prefix. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 17:16, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
    No need to do so: simply recall that any time new, relevant information is available, either developed from a journalist's research or discovered elsewhere, the 'clock' on a story is reset. Right now there's a tendency to say "old news" whenever the news event is more than a couple days old, but new information about a news event is new, and news-worthy. - Amgine | t 17:34, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
  • The clock not only resets, but for original reporting, the clock should run longer. As we say at {{stale}}, "Exceptions are possible where original reporting adds significant new and newsworthy information to the article." I don't remember when we last deleted an original interview for lack of timeliness. Perhaps we should highlight this view of newsworthiness to attract the type of original investigation that Fences and windows describes. --InfantGorilla (talk) 13:32, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Reportage types - arb section break

This is getting long, so sticking in a break. --Brian McNeil / talk 14:23, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Right, let's reframe this.

  • Columns and editorials will likely fall foul of NPOV. Kinda stuffed there.
  • The "sources within last 2-3 days" is supposed to be for pure synthesis stuff. Add a little OR (say, shoot out a couple emails, make a couple calls) and you've rescued the article.
  • Long-term, in-depth research? Absolutely want such here, but it is hard. Freedom of Information requests can take months to be answered. The answers can lead to further requests, you've to consult subject experts. Timeliness is near-irrelevant. (me grumbles at Amgine about seven billion pounds).

So, at-issue is what the article covers. But, most contributors need to learn to write good copy in a reasonable timescale. BRS will attest, we were told at Napier open day those taking journalism straight from school will spend the first two years learning to write. --Brian McNeil / talk 14:49, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

  • Yep. You can imagine the glances we exchanged after that little snippet: 50% of the course is teaching you how to write. Now, about columns/editorials... might we somehow encourage either writers or reviewers to do an opinion piece on comments pages as they're churned out? Something not too long - too much distraction - but long enough to be worth highlighting on articles that have them? This is thinking aloud. Do me a favour and work out the problems for me :p. One major problem is highlighting such stuff would still, really, be endorsing a POV. People could churn out strings of articles they're strongly opinionated on just to push their little soapbox agenda, knowing it would get some kind of official linkage. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 16:59, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
  • This was *supposed* to be one of the points of The Editors' Blog on Wikinewsie. Alas, that saw a fair bit of what I felt was embarassing stuff; rants that would do Faux proud, and infotainment that is to news what sugar-free chewing gum is to sirloin steak. I hate the shallow, vapid 'ooooooh! he said/she said celeb stuff'. Reality TV is not news, and people need that misapprehension knocked out of them.... /me votes for the Dirty Digger being sent to Nuremberg. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:20, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Forcing stuff to be direct commentary on an event in a WN article would help curb that. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 18:50, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I'd refer people to the BBC's editorial blogs on that issue. I'm happy to reinstate an editors' blog on Wikinewsie if certain criteria are met - in essence, all but NPOV must apply. This is where we need the WNDent (identica) pushed. Also need a nice skin for Wordpress, and a few other bits and pieces. Most important, to me, will be keeping software up to date, applying something 'close' to the WMF privacy policy, and a similar to enWN look 'n' feel. I'd question if we open up blog access beyond accredited reporters; perhaps to reviewers, but I do at least want a second pair of eyes over everything for spelling/grammar. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:13, 22 September 2010 (UTC)