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article imageWikiTribune fires journalists as part of new direction

By Tim Sandle     Oct 24, 2018 in Internet
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has laid off all of the journalists working on his new media website WikiTribune. This is partly to address public disquiet over big media and 'fake news'.
This signals a change in direction for WikiTribune. The site was originally conceived as a conventional news site (a rolling digital newspaper modeled on Wikipedia), albeit on a very big scale akin to the vast size of Wikipedia. The new announcement is towards a site that is “community oriented” where the focus is on submissions from citizen contributors rather than professional journalists.
The Verge reports that WikiTribune is laying off its twelve initially appointed original editorial staffers. This follows the departure of Peter Bale, who had put the team together. Bale had previously worked in senior roles at CNN and Reuters.
WikiTribune was conceived as "a news website in which journalists with established background in the profession research, syndicate and report on widely publicised news stories alongside volunteers who curate articles by proofreading, fact-checking, suggesting possible changes, and adding sources from other, usually long established outlets." Much like Wikipedia, stories can be edited by any community member.
News of the changes, as The Drum notes, come from a joint statement by Jimmy Wales and his partner Orit Kopel. The comment is about “major personnel changes”, which will be announced later, and a revision of the sites function, which will be orientated more closely to the wider global community.
The statement runs: "the quality from the community is extremely high – the quality of the dialogue between us all is high, and the quality of the output is high. We are making staffing changes to invest more in community by following two directions: (1) technology and community support; (2) changing the mix of journalists to more directly suit their role as supporters of the community."
This means that most of the contributions will come from 'community members', with a hand fall of professional staff serving the community as required. The intention is present WikiTribune as something different to other media outlets, where some consumers of news perceive (mostly unfairly) that journalists are posting 'fake news'.
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