Wikipedia Founder to Launch Crowdfunded ‘Wikitribune’ to Fight Fake News

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. (Photograph: Felix Clay for the Guardian)
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. (Photograph: Felix Clay for the Guardian)

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, is launching a new online publication which will aim to fight fake news by pairing professional journalists with an army of volunteer community contributors.

Wikitribune plans to pay for the reporters by raising money from a crowdfunding campaign.

Wales intends to cover general issues, such as US and UK politics, through to specialist science and technology.

Those who donate will become supporters, who in turn will have a say in which subjects and story threads the site focuses on. And Wales intends that the community of readers will fact-check and subedit published articles.

Describing Wikitribune as “news by the people and for the people,” Wales said: “This will be the first time that professional journalists and citizen journalists will work side-by-side as equals writing stories as they happen, editing them live as they develop, and at all times backed by a community checking and rechecking all facts.”

Although the site is launching at the beginning of the UK general election campaign, Wales said the impetus for the project came from the US.

“Someone I know convinced me to give Trump 100 days before making my mind up,” he said, “but then on day one Kellyanne Conway came out and said her ‘alternative facts’ line. That was when I really decided to move forward.”

If the fundraising campaign goes well, Wales hopes to be able to hire the site’s first journalists “as soon as possible” – perhaps before 8 June, when Britons vote in the general election called by prime minister Theresa May.

Like Wikipedia, Wales’s new project will be free to access. The publication is launching on Tuesday 25 April with a crowdfunding campaign pre-selling monthly “support packages” to fund the initial journalists. The first issue will follow soon after.

The community contributors will play a key part in the new site, ensuring that the contents of the articles are always supported by as much extra information shared with the readers as possible.

They will be backed up by a presumption of transparency in the site’s reporting, with journalists sharing full transcripts, video and audio of interviews.

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SOURCE: Alex Hern
The Guardian