Wikinews:Writing an article

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Anyone, including you, can write for Wikinews! All you need is an Internet connection, access to a web browser (which we can assume you have if you're reading this), and your time, effort, and willingness to learn a few easy skills. For a short essay which sums up this document, see article layout in a nutshell.

Wikinews Help

Writing an article
Article outline
Editing help

Article tags
Article decorations

Policies and guidelines
Neutral point of view
Content guide
Cite sources
Style guide
Naming conventions
Original reporting

Contact us
Wikinews chatroom
Water cooler

Before you begin

Is your story news?

Check that the story is appropriate for publication on Wikinews, and that it is current.

Has your story already been covered?

Someone may have written, or started, the article you are interested in. Check the Main page, the Newsroom, and the list of prepared stories. If the story is complete, but only recently published, you can add to it. If incomplete, you can help improve and finish it.

Starting out

If the story has not been started, you can begin it by entering an appropriate title below and clicking "Create article".

Here are Wikinews article title rules and guidelines.

Do not change the {{date|{{subst:#time:F j, Y}}}} code; when you save it will be completed with a date.

The template for citing sources is explained here.

The {{Developing}} template shows an article is not ready for review. When you are confident it is, remove the {{Developing}} template and put {{Review}} at the top of the article.

Every article must be reviewed by an independent reviewer prior to publication.

Essential steps

These are steps an article must go through to be published. However, no one editor needs to do all these steps alone! You can do as little or as much as you want — the wider community of editors may well take up your story where you leave off.

Wikinews articles are written using the "wiki markup" for formatting and presentation. You can see Help:Editing for guidance on using the Wiki markup or use the toolbar above the editing box to add formatting. You can also try our wiki sandbox to test the code out for a spin. Even if you are not familiar with the markup, you can still write the article in plain text and someone else will do the markup — Collaboration!

Your story must be fully sourced — every statement in the article must be backed up by a source published elsewhere. The only exceptions are the obvious ("Paris is in France") and Original Reporting (see below).

It must also comply with the neutral point of view — that is, the article must represent all sides of a story fairly and in an unbiased way.

Wikinews articles should not infringe on the copyright of any other work. So copying portions of text from other sources into a Wikinews article is usually not acceptable, and in some cases, even rewriting the content of another source is not sufficient. It is best to gather information from multiple sources and put them all together in your own words in the article you write. See Fair use for more information. Please do not publish an article until it has multiple sources, or there is agreement among reviewers that more sources are not available and the article is not a copyright infringement or that the article includes original reporting.

Write in 'news' style

News reports are typically written in a certain way in the majority of the English language news media. These "style" conventions stem from common sense, tradition, evolution and research. Wikinews, too, follows such conventions, which are listed in the Style guide. Try to ensure that an article meets these guidelines.

Some news events are easily comprehensible only to those who are familiar with its background and context. Wikinews has a global audience. To ensure that anyone, anywhere can understand the report, include such background and context as is necessary.

List your sources

The sources you have used for the article must be listed in a separate section at the bottom of the article. (You can create such a section by adding the following line at the bottom of the article:

A cited source will appear like this:

To format your source in the above style, use this template:

 |url    = insert_url_here
 |title  = insert_title_here
 |author = insert_author_here
 |pub    = insert_publisher_here
 |date   = insert_date_here

To be clear, the fields are url, title, author, pub(lisher), and date.

Per the style guide, multiple sources should be listed newest to oldest. If any source is missing one or more of the template's fields, leave a blank space after the "=".

Original reporting?

If you are writing your article using notes you took yourself "in the field" rather than using other published sources, read Wikinews:Original reporting for guidance. Then add the tag {{Original}} at the bottom of a page, and leave detailed notes about the original reporting on the discussion page.

Add categories

Every article needs to be listed under one or more categories, for it to be easily found even after it has dropped off the Latest news pages. Categories also enable articles to be listed on appropriate regional and topical "Portals".

Typically, both a "location" category (where did the news event take place?) and a "topic" category (what is the event about?) is required. Available categories are listed in Wikinews:Archives/Topic and Wikinews:Archives/Region.

Add them using this syntax: [[Category:<insert category name>]]. For example, an article about a health conference in the United states might have the categories:

[[category:United States]]
[[category:North America]]

Request a peer review

Once your article meets all the above requirements, replace the {{Develop}} tag with the {{review}} tag to request your article be "reviewed". Hopefully a reviewer will review your article in short order. Once the article is reviewed, the reviewer will either publish the article, or leave a message on the article's talk page (the talk tab on the top of the article) explaining what needs to be done before publishing.

Optional steps

Avoiding edit conflicts

To avoid edit conflicts you might first want to insert the {{editing}} tag and then save your story. This tag is a request to other editors to refrain from editing the article, since the "tagger" is rewriting substantial portions of the text and therefore any other edit is very likely to result in an edit conflict. Use this tag only when it is really necessary, and be sure to remove it as soon as possible. Remember that Wikinews articles are not "owned" by any of its editors, and anyone else is meant to be free to contribute to any article.

Add images

You may wish to add images to your story. Even if none are available from the actual event, it can be helpful to the reader if you add a graphic of some sort, perhaps a map, or some icon representative of event features. Wikimedia Commons contains a wide variety of images, which you can automatically include on any Wikinews article using [[File:<some image name>|thumb|left|<image caption> {{image credit|photographer name}}]] Ensure that the images are not copyright infringements — as explained below.

Use the Reference desk to find images to upload, or take your own photos too (see digital camera), or even draw your own pictures (using a free program like GIMP, for example).

If you want to upload public domain images, use the Commons image, sound and file library. Use this link to go directly to the upload page. You will need to register on the Commons if you have not already done so.

You can only upload 'free' (as in 'free to be redistributed and edited at will') images on the Commons. You can upload 'fair use' images directly to Wikinews. Thoroughly read the fair use guidelines before uploading a picture to Wikinews; if your picture does not meet the fair use guidelines, it will be deleted. If your image is allowable, use this link to upload images to Wikinews.

Even if you cannot find any suitable images, a flag or map is often enough to spice up your article. For example if you article was something related to Somalia, you could try adding [[File:Flag of Somalia.svg|200px|right]] or [[File:LocationSomalia.png|right|200px]] (replace Somalia with appropriate country name)

Continuing coverage

Have a look to see if there is a suitable Infobox that could be used on your story.

Adding wikilinks is encouraged. Many subjects such as countries and politicians have their own pages that link to the Wikinews category or portal.

If there is no local target for the link, you can use a link to Wikipedia that will automatically become local if a local target is later created.

  • For example, {{w|biodiesel}} produces biodiesel.

See also