In an effort to battle fake news, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has launched another website called WikiTribune which will combine the efforts of journalists and volunteers to offer ‘factual and neutral’ news articles.
Jimmy Wales calls WikiTribune ‘a news site with a sense of community’. The project will largely be dependent or crowd-funding.
The project, however, isn’t affiliated with Wikipedia or Wikimedia Foundation but is an independent project of Jimmy Wales who is being advised by Guy Kawasaki, Jeff Jarvis and Lily Cole.
At the time of writing, the website had 418 supporters with 29 days to go in completing their goal of hiring 10 journalists.
“The news is broken and we can fix it. We’re bringing genuine community control to our news with unrestricted access for all. We want to make sure that you read fact-based articles that have a real impact on both local and global events,” the website reads.
The site also mentions that if they fail to reach their goal of hiring 10 journalists in the stipulated time then the supporters’ money will be refunded.
People have the option of becoming a monthly, quarterly or annual supporter and can also make a one-time contribution to Wales’ effort.
Contributions can range from $1 to any amount that you are pleased to pledge your support with.
“It’s a movement that we believe will eventually obliterate low-rent, unreliable news for good,” WikiTribune reads.
WikiTribune also claims that they’ll remain 100% ad-free and will not put a paywall on their content.
What Seems Cool About WikiTribune?
Since WikiTribune won’t be allowing advertisements on their website, that means that they won’t be chasing clicks and page views on their website, which means no click bait headlines and no sponsored content.
Although more thought needs to be put towards how the website’s editorial will work, if the crowdfunding model is successful, then WikiTribune can become a credible source of news.
News outlets are dependent on advertisers and sponsored content when it comes to digital publishing, but crowdsourcing — and building up a loyal monthly supporter/subscriber base — helps them get rid of the burden of pleasing an advertiser.
As the website mentions, “…supported not primarily by advertisers, but by readers who care about good journalism enough…”
What Seems Not Quite Right?
Much like Wikipedia, ‘anyone can flag or fix an article and submit it for review’ and this might create problems for the website as every individual carries some bias in their mind.
This bias might affect the quality of the suggested edits submitted to review for an article.
The same model is being used in Wikipedia, which is known for its inaccuracy when it comes to facts and is considered the worst place to source news and facts from by professionals.
Crowdsourced news isn’t a new concept, but due to its association with Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales’ brains behind the project, it might find a lot many takers.
We’ll get to see if the world is ready for WikiTribune or not within a few weeks.