Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has announced plans to launch Wikitribune, a crowd-sourced, ad-free news site where professional journalists will work alongside volunteer enthusiasts to produce fact-based, high-quality news. “The news is broken,” writes Wales, “but we’ve figured out how to fix it.” Wikitribune’s stated goal before it’s May 24 launch is to hire 10 professional journalists to work alongside the site’s volunteer community to research and write articles.
As grass-roots, volunteer citizen journalists running an ad-free news site supported by Patreon, we welcome Wikitribune into the club. When we launched Torchlight, the corrupting influence of advertising and the resulting temptation to write for clicks rather than truth was foremost on our minds. We too declined to put up a paywall, believing that for our work to be the best it could be, it needed to be read as widely as possible.
So far, the Wikitribune site is light on details about how, exactly, the professional journalists and the community will interact to produce quality reporting. Additionally, we’re unsure how Wikitribune’s model will avoid becoming a bland sea of false equivalence and both-sides-are-the-same simplicity; after all, if half the community views things one way and half view them the other, shouldn’t both sides be presented as equals? Not always, which is why Torchlight has an unabashed perspective on the news. We’ve posed these questions to Wikitribune, but at press time had not heard back.
Overall, we’re excited to see another organization responding to the same set of concerns that led us to launch Torchlight. Torchlight salutes Wikitribune and looks forward to sharing this new and exciting media space with them. When our team came together back in February to launch our site, we did so because we were dismayed at the state of the media and wanted, as citizens and patriots, to do something about it. We’re glad that other people share our concerns and the same need to respond, and look forward to seeing what they come up with.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license.