James Walker

James Walker

Web Developer

Wikipedia creator to fight fake news with volunteer-led journalism

Published on Wednesday April 26 2017 at 09:31 in News Editorials

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is launching a news site to oppose the spread of fake news by putting fact-checking and neutrality at the heart of each article. The site will use volunteers to check and edit articles written by professional journalists.

Called Wikitribune, the site will launch in a month's time. Wales is currently hiring journalists and attempting to sign people up for the subscription service. Although all the content will be available for free, the lack of ads leaves Wikitribune dependant on its community if it's to continue operating.

Supporters will also be able to influence Wikitribune's focus and editorial direction. While it won't be possible to singlehandedly change the site's viewpoint, community members will have a say in the topics that are featured. The community will be a vital component of the site. Without a significant backing, Wikitribune won't be able to operate as intended.

Wales needs people to subscribe to the site so it can grow and expand to include more voices. As the core writing team will be fully paid, the number of subscribers directly impacts the number of journalists hired. Wales is looking to initially employ ten people but told the BBC he'd "love to start with a lot more." As more subscribers arrive, new journalists will be hired to continue Wikitribune's growth.

Wikitribune will launch in 29 days, according to the countdown timer on the landing page unveiled this week. You can sign up now to start supporting the project. The design of the finished website has not yet been revealed but demonstration versions have been shown to members of a select audience.

Learn more about Wikitribune at the site's landing page or in my full report for Digital Journal.