Cambridge, April, 26th, 2017 (Niemanlab) Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, recently launched Wikitribune, an independent site (not affiliated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation) “that brings journalists and a community of volunteers together” in a combination that Wales hopes will combat fake news online — initially in English, then in other languages.
The idea is to combine crowdsourced news investigations and professional journalism, in order to have the best information possible. The site is launching with a crowdfunding campaign to fund the first Wikitribune journalists “with the first issue of Wikitribune following shortly.” The Wikitribune page said that the goal is to hire 10 journalists.
The idea is that the professional journalists will be paid to write “global news stories,” while volunteer contributors will “vet the facts, helps make sure the language is factual and neutral, and will to the maximum extent possible be transparent about the source of news posting full transcripts, video, and audio of interviews. In this way Wikitribune aims to combat the increasing proliferation of online fake news.”
Wales had hinted at his thinking behind the project in a February editorial in The Guardian. “If there is any kryptonite to false information, it’s transparency,” he wrote: Technology platforms can choose to expose more information about the content people are seeing, and why they’re seeing it. We need this visibility because it sheds light on the process and origins of information and creates a structure for accountability. We need online spaces for open dialogue across a variety of viewpoints. These spaces must be inclusive by design — toxic behavior, including harassment, is unfortunately a fact of the internet. We need ground rules, commitment to verification, civil dialogue and active participation. And we need to apply these principles to all our online activity. The rise of the internet may have created our current predicament, but the people who populate the internet can help us get out of it.