Wikitribune to combat fake news

Just come across an interesting article on BBC News.  Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is planning to launch a news service which will combat ‘fake news’.

‘Fake News’ is something which Donald Trump has branded a number of news organisations and singled them out in numerous White House briefings.  Now I’m not sure whether this is something to do with experiences in his ‘old’ job or whether this is something completely fabricated.  I’m reserving my opinion on that one.

When ‘fake news’ is mentioned by someone so powerful in commerce and politics.  It’s gotta hurt the news brand, the journalists and immediately knocks any credibility to stories – old, new and upcoming.

So is Jimmy’s idea of – WikiTribune – going to resolve that?  Well perhaps.  According to the BBC not only is this site going to be the work of journalists and volunteers it’s also going to be ad-free and ‘read-free’.

Now with so many news outlets looking to the internet for revenue streams that is something that is going to draw attention to a brand.  “Here you go – it’s validated.  It’s professionally written.  It’s referenced.”  Makes you wonder whether this has more than just a news application.  Maybe university thesis research, maybe contextual information for management information reports.  Who knows.

Mr Wales explained that he believed the advertising-based model used by most of the media had led it to ‘chase clicks’, which affected standards.

We’re getting people to sign-up as monthly supporters and the more monthly supporters we have the more journalists we can hire.

Ok that makes sense – so there is a revenue element driven by donations.  A model which is taken from his successful Wikipedia website.  I am curious though.  What qualifies a journalist as a journalist?  Does membership of a union or professional body qualify that?  Would I as a blogger qualify?

What we have to remember is the internet is a global beast.  Has no borders (per se),  restrictions can be applied on a nation basis but, the clever ones can find ways around that.  So how much ‘influence’ can such a website draw.  Potentially a vast amount.  Simple ideas like this can blossom an bring down giants.  Is this CNN, Bloomberg or BBC’s David to their Goliath?

I, for one, will be watching Wikitribune developments with interest.  Anything that gives me qualified data, opinion and insight is good for my business and is good for my own learnings.


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