Wikinews talk:Mission statement

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(preliminary exchange of remarks)[edit]

Boud wrote:

In the case of news, this problem becomes much worse than for the wikipedia, since the need for many years of studying in a subject becomes greatly reduced: news about w:human rights violations do not need much level of education - the right to not be imprisoned for one's political opinions, the right to not be tortured nor killed - only need honest witnesses.

But again, even among those people who do have internet access, those who have the best access and who can best argue their point are not always those who suffer most and whose stories need most urgently to be made known to the rest of us.

One possibility for wikinews is to closely cooperate with w:indymedia - in which local autonomy and local, open public meetings by grassroots groups which have direct access to first-hand information are keys to getting news reports from people with only moderate or indirect internet access.

As of 2004, Indymedia autonomous groups have so far only been very weakly operating in Africa and in most of Asia.

If wikinews is to really have any chance of the whole world being able to write news, then we are going to have to be ambitious and, for example, finance massive programs of hardware + GNU/linux training for people throughout Africa and Asia.

And, for example, also in places like w:Haiti where a democratically elected president was allegedly removed from the country by US forces|.

If the majority of people in Haiti, not just the richest ones, had access to the internet and used wikinews, then it would be much more likely that the version of news about Haiti represents a consensus mostly (but not completely) decided by the various groups of people who live there, simply because as the people most motivated by the reports on news stories, they would be most motivated to correct errors on reports on the (alleged) continuing massacres of members and supporters of the majority political party by the government [1], which is supported by the governments of several of two of the countries of people who most contribute to the wikipedia (w:USA, w:France).

While wikinews should avoid most of the filters discussed in Herman and Chomsky's w:propaganda model, i.e. should be more neutral than any mainstream medium, it retains the filter that the people filing reports or correcting news items are still, as of 2004, strictly speaking a minority much less than 10%, and in practice are probably limited to a much smaller minority of those with the best internet access.

Any constructive suggestions for overcoming this are welcome.

This is all interesting, but it is 1) a Wikimedia-wide issue, not just for Wikinews, 2) decidedly POV, 3) turning into a rant. I don't think it belongs into the mission statement proper.--Eloquence

1) True that it's a wikimedia-wide issue, but it's more important for "news" than for encyclopedia articles: many people are directly qualified to report on specific cases of what is important for a specific bunch of a people (themselves) at a specific time in a specific place - but are less qualified to make generalisations and describe patterns, which is the sort of knowledge expected in an encyclopedia.
2) Some people who contribute to wikipedia think very idealistically independently of reality and ignore the fundamental question of where first-hand sources of information come from - if you think the Haiti example is POV, then correct the POV bits of the various Haiti articles; if you think the Herman/Chomsky empirical research behind their propaganda model is wrong, then show alternative research or show why their research was badly done - the intention of wikipedia is, of course, fantastic, and wikinews is also very ambitious, but the fundamental weak point ought to be made much more obvious, IMHO.
3) wikinews is going to look naive and silly if we do not openly and obviously state that the digital divide is a major weakness and we would like to tackle it. You may call it a rant, but i call it being ambitious about our mission (otherwise how can we have a mission statement). Boud 02:57, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)
But i think your changes were more or less reasonable :) - i've just put in a few links directly to the digital divide page. Boud 03:03, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)


-Will there be any role for photographers in the future of wikinews? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 18:46, 29 November 2004

How much on digital divide to be in mission statement?[edit]

As of Revision as of 01:33, 23 Nov 2004, Jimbo Wales removed the section:

We realize that the people on this planet who most suffer are, generally, but not always, those who have the poorest access to the Internet. The user base of the Wikipedia, for example, is much wider and more participative than any other encyclopedia, but it is still strongly biased in favour of what is still a small minority: much less than 50% of us have access to the internet. This is an issue, called the digital divide, that we will seek to address within the broader Wikimedia framework.

but he left in place other elements NPOVing on the same issue, so i guess we only differ in the degree to which this needs to be emphasised. It's also true that the feedback structure and NPOV culture and general mechanisms of the wikipedia make the power of the majority much more sensitive to minorities, so that even if minorities (in terms of internet access, but huge majorities in terms of number of people) are really tiny minorities in terms of wikipedia work, they can still have a big corrective effect if their arguments are rational and clear and backed up by credible sources. And that's probably too complicated to sum up neatly in a short paragraph. So, i guess after a bit of reflection, i agree with you, jimbo :). Anyway, let's hope that we can do something real about the digital divide, and not just argue about it... Boud 11:16, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Simple mission?[edit]

It may be helpful to have a single sentence (or phrase) or phrase that reflects the news philopsphy of organization in addition to a more lengthy explainer. Our Mission Statement Should

  • Express Wikinews' purpose in a way that inspires support and ongoing
  • Motivate those who contribute
  • Be articulated in a way that is convincing and easy to grasp
  • Use proactive verbs to describe what we do
  • Be free of jargon
  • Be short enough so that anyone connected to the organization can readily recall its main principles

— Inspired by Strategic Communications for Nonprofit Organizations: Seven Steps to Creating a Successful Plan, by Janel M. Radtke.

Examples from other news providers (historic and present):

  • New York TImes: All the news that's fit to print'
  • Chicago Times, 1861: It's a newspaper's duty to print the news, and raise hell
  • News Corporation: Just as our assets span the world, our vision spans art and humor, audacity and compassion, information and innovation – whether in an American television series, an Indian game show, an Australian newspaper, an English sports broadcast or an international box-office hit.
  • National News Centre: To enhance the quality of life of the military community and contribute to the operational readiness and effectiveness of the Canadian Forces (CF).
  • WDUN-AM radio: We desire to exceed both the expectations and requirements of our listeners by providing them with the finest in broadcast excellence, regardless of their choice of programming. We want every person who tunes in to one of our stations to hear the finest professional sound backed by our integrity and reliability.
  • : This newspaper exists because we believe the world's most influential nation is poorly served by outlets that focus on domestic political and cultural issues to the exclusion of relevant news affecting the other five-and-a-half billion people in the world. The Internet is perhaps the most obvious facilitator of an increasingly global economy and culture.

Davodd, I think that you make a good point: there is a difference between a Mission and a Mission Statement: the current page is the mission, but we might want a shorter to make our goals more easy to understand. My suggestion is: To present up-to-date, relevant, newsworthy information without bias, and to allow citizen journalists to contibute to the collection and analysis of such information. -- IlyaHaykinson 02:23, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

a (non-trivial) copyedit/rewrite[edit]

Follwing Edbrown's lead, i started trying to "trim some fat" on this page, but soon ended up making some non-trivial changes. since this is a mission statement, thought i shld post it here to let others take a dekko first, before making the changes. if people want a diff, then it can be arranged. :]

anyway, here goes... Doldrums 08:30, 6 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

P.S. i think we should plug NPOV a little more. it's a significant attribute, esp. in today's media landscape.

To present up-to-date, relevant, newsworthy and entertaining content without bias[edit]

Wikinews promotes the idea of participatory jounalism because of the belief that citizens know what is news like no others. You are invited to join in this effort, and share news that is of interest to you.

The Wikinews project is a free content news source of the Wikimedia where everyone is invited to contribute reports about events large and small, either from direct experience, or compiled from other sources. Wikinews seeks to build a unique news environment to enrich the media landscape.

Wikinews will be useful even if it starts by having few original reports—because it will provide free, neutral, integrated summaries of the news from elsewhere. It is useful even if the range of subjects covered is not complete—because what is coverd, benefit from the collaborative wiki model. Wikinews will grow to become more useful every day.

While Wikinews aims to be a useful resource by itself, it will also serve other independent media outfits by providing a high quality news-feed free of charge, becoming an alternative to proprietary news agencies like the Associated Press or Reuters. Thanks to copyleft, anyone will be able to create their own free news source—even a non-neutral one—on the basis of this work.

Wikinews has adopted the key principles that made Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia websites what they are today: neutral, free content and open decision-making processes.

language of "mission statement"[edit]

The following statement is found at the bottom of each Wikinews Print Edition:

About Wkinews
We are a group of volunteer journalists whose mission is to create a diverse community where citizens from around the globe (including you) can collaborate to report the news on a wide variety of current events. By making our content perpetually available for free redistribution and use, we hope to contribute to a global digital commons.

The wording looks pretty clean. -Edbrown05 03:37, 16 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This page describes Wikinews as a "copyleft" project:

"Thanks to copyleft, anyone can create their own free news source—even a non-neutral one—on the basis of this work."

Only it's not, wikinews is a CC-BY project, without the requirement to ShareAlike.

I'm not a contributor so am I missing something here?

If I'm right, please fix, for example replacing the above with:

"Thanks to its content being freely licensed, anyone can use it as a source, or create their own news source - even a non-neutral one - on the basis of this work."

--Solstag (talk) 22:33, 2 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


We might consider making a WN:MS shortcut to this. Thanks. --Gryllida 10:10, 24 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see this mission statement, in its current form, as an historical curiosity, a snapshot of early thoughts about where Wikinews might be going in the future. As a description of the living project today, bits of it are very off-key. I mostly just avoid this page; I've no interest in creating links to it, which is what a shortcut exists to facilitate.
If we were going to start aggressively linking to it, I'd want to fix the off-key bits... and who has time to work out which phrasing would want tweaking and how to tweak it, then decide what sort of consensus might be called for and pursue that? --Pi zero (talk) 13:25, 24 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

copyedit required[edit]

I did some routine copyediting of some major problems that nobody will probably object to, but i didn't dare to be bold in fixing the clunky and non sequitur ending:

There are many challenges. Wikinews adopted the key principles that made Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia websites what they are today: neutral, free content and open decision-making processes.

Is this perhaps what was meant?:

There are many challenges, but Wikinews is confident it will meet them successfully by adhering to the key principles that made Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia websites what they are today: neutral point of view, free content, and the open decision-making process.

Since experienced Wikipedia editors know about its five pillars and many have heard of Wikimedia's 6 values and even 6 (other) founding priniples, it's not a good idea to imply that there are only "3 key principles" and not even mention that there are others. --Espoo (talk) 09:34, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Experienced Wikipedia editors who assume they know how Wikinews works often get off on the wrong foot here, because Wikinews is not Wikipedia. Even our NPOV policy is different from Wikipedia's. See also WN:Pillars of Wikinews writing (there are seven of them). --Pi zero (talk) 10:53, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
1) It's always a good idea to welcome new contributors. I also see you aren't aware that Wikinews:Policies and guidelines even says "please do not bite newbies, and always show respect and kindness". I find it hard to believe you saw no merit in any of my edits. I have the feeling you didn't even bother to check what happened in which edit and instead simply threw the baby out with the bathwater in reverting everything.
2) I didn't assume anything, on the contrary. It's quite hilarious that you claim that of someone who you know spent a lot of time reading and thinking about the mission statement. Not many newbie editors read the policies and mission statements at all. I also took a look at the policies and guideline. I noticed there were grammatical, semantic, and even logical problems and missing important links in the mission statement and i fixed those. The only reason i referred to Wikipedia is because the Wikinews mission statement does so (and does so confusingly and illogically, as explained above).
3) I will proceed to redo in small steps what i as a professional copyeditor would call a routine basic cleanup and will wait for your reaction to each step and its edit explanation to see if you agree. If you find more than one edit when you come back, please judge each edit separately.
4) I'm still waiting for your reaction to my suggestion on how to fix the most embarrassing problem, the clunky and non sequitur ending. --Espoo (talk) 16:34, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was polite and reserved in my initial response; you showed evidence of a number of incautious assumptions, and I merely provided you with some information. Your response above is hostile, arrogant, and contains various false assertions/accusations. News requires caution and precision in such things. --Pi zero (talk) 18:12, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd like to apologize since you feel what i said was hostile and arrogant. I felt your initial response was cold and rude since it was combined with a revert of all my edits (even those consisting of pure corrections of language errors) and with the claim that i was a confused Wikipedian who hadn't made an effort to understand how Wikinews works, so i may have overreacted, but i was merely trying to defend myself and my edits.
I asked you to consider the merits of each edit separately and you instead again undid several at once, including ones that corrected clear grammar and other language errors that you've now put back. Do you really disagree with these purely grammar corrections? Please click on "undo" for individual edits, not several at once, thank you. --Espoo (talk) 18:56, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My initial comment was intended to provide information, pointing out a potential trap, without committing on whether or not you'd actually fallen into that trap. I didn't say you had, after all. Though your edits and comments suggested it was, either way, worthwhile to highlight the existence of the trap.
A limitation of the wiki software is that if you make an edit, and then make another edit sufficiently close to it, there's no way to revert the first edit without also reverting the second. This is another form of the same phenomenon that causes "edit conflicts" when you try to submit an edit to something that someone else has changed since you started editing it. Of the most recent two edits, I didn't really have the option to consider the second independent of the first. --Pi zero (talk) 19:14, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't understand what you're saying. It seems you were unhappy with the 17:09 edit ("because of the belief that..." would mean this is a generally accepted belief. "based on the belief" would be a bit better but is less clear than "because it believes") but apparently didn't disagree with the 17:28 edit (grammar: commas shouldn't separate subjects from verbs/ "that" produces a restrictive clause, implying that there are other WMF news sources that don't seek etc./ "where" is incorrect). What happened or would have happened when you or if you had clicked on "undo" next to the 17:09 edit?
I just noticed that my attempt to fix the error of the restrictive clause ("that" produces a restrictive clause, implying that there are other WMF news sources that don't seek to provide content free of charge) but not change things as much as the first time backfired. It should of course read:
The Wikinews project is a free content news source of the Wikimedia Foundation. It seeks to provide content free of charge and is a project to which everyone is invited to contribute reports about events large and small...
Using my original suggestion of taking the WMF out of the sentence (and at the end of the preceding paragraph) would of course be better:
Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.
The Wikinews project is a free content news source that seeks to provide content free of charge and that invites everyone to contribute reports about events large and small...
  • The error message when asking to undo the first edit without the second would have been (it's not hard to produce these)
The edit could not be undone due to conflicting intermediate edits.
--Pi zero (talk) 19:49, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Wikinews' use extends beyond original reports, by providing free, neutral, integrated summaries of the news from elsewhere." is simply repeating what was already said before, and in a less logical way (Wikinews's "use"), and "from elsewhere" is very unclear. --Espoo (talk) 18:03, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]