Where do you see this going? How do you see it cohabitating with or maybe taking over mainstream media?
First of all, I don’t really see how we could take over the mainstream media. One of the things they can do well that we can’t do is send a trusted reporter out to the Ukraine, for example, and get a report back that can be trusted. We’re not going to be able to send people places. We can rely on people who are local, but if we don’t know who they are, then we can’t trust them as sources. Because typically, people who would be attracted to writing original reports would tend to be activists, not necessarily journalists.
Instead, what we can do very well is basically be another form of response to–and commentary on, in a certain sense–the mainstream media, just as blogs have become important. A very well-written, good blog is like a very well-written editorial column in a newspaper. Some of the top bloggers could easily be writing a syndicated column for…respected sources.
At the same time, bloggers are very often drawn to comment on the media itself. Such as being critical of how a story is being reported or digging into some facts that have been overlooked by the media. Things like that. I think we’ll also fit into that type of role but in different ways. The bloggers are the editorial page and response to the editorial pages, and we’re the response to the front page. We’ll synthesize what’s being reported in a variety of sources.
This seems wise and right. But now I’m confused. Is WikiNews a news source? A fact-checker? A commentary on the news media? A reference point? Or all of the above.
Probably the last. But does anyone out there really have the time to read a commentary on the news commentary?
Also, WikiNews’ main schtick is that the process of its creation – the community peer review – will enforce a neutral viewpoint (although, as Wales points out above, the people doing the actual writing may well be far from neutral). In other words, WikiNews’ “trustability” is vested in its processes.
But I think people need to trust people, not processes. Increasingly, I put my trust in individuals – columnists, reporters, bloggers – rather than entities. My ability to get news and comments from someone I know and trust is a profound thing, and one of the big drivers of the growth in blogging. I just don’t have that relationship with a Wikipedia (or Wikinews) contributor.