Talk of people who have heavily contributed to the Internet era and this man Jimmy Wales must be on the list; after all he co-founded Wikipedia – the know-it-all. But his innovative mind doesn’t stop there as he is working on a news service that will put together the work of professional journalists and volunteers, reports Telegraph.
The ambitious project, termed Wikitribune, is viewed as the best way to fight against the “fake news” menace. It will offer nothing short of “factual and neutral” articles.
The basis of the service success will be donations from supporters because it will be ad-free and free-to-read.
Many are already counting on it being a trusted site but there is also the fear that it may be limited.
Wikitribune already borrows many features from Wales’s online encyclopedia that demands writers must include a source to any fact and keeping it open to the public for editing articles to ensure their accuracy.
But despite anyone being allowed to edit a page, the edits will only go live once a staff member or trusted community volunteers give a go ahead.
Wikitribune is differentiated from Wikipedia by the fact that the team of writers will be paid although there are some cases where the staff member just edits what has been written by volunteer writers.
Fake News Menace
Popular web-based sources of news such as Google and Facebook have had to contend with increasing criticism of fake news.
The two giant sites have both pledged to strife and ensure their content is authentic but that is one thing they are well aware isn’t easy going. The fact that they rely on readers to flag inappropriate articles even makes it much harder because some people tend to believe what they just read without second doubts.
But Wales is optimistic that he just found a solution to the problem.
“The basic concept here is to have a community driven news platform, so very much like other Wiki communities like Wikipedia,” he told the Press Association.
He adds that the site will rely on monthly contributions from community members instead advertising. That way, they will be able to focus in different direction – share authentic content rather than publish advertising content.
“We want to write things that people are passionate about enough that they want to pay for it.”
Wales said that is something he has always been passionate about and that the business-oriented news isn’t of any help. We now have fake news that are “fuelled by the incessant drive for clicks.”
“If you can get together a certain number of people who are interested in Bitcoin [for example] and you flag that when you sign up as a monthly supporter, then we’ll hire a Bitcoin person to do the beat full-time,” Mr Wales explained.