[mailto:wikien-l-bounces@Wikipedia.org] On Behalf Of Chip Berlet
Sent: Tuesday, 8 November 2005 00:40
To: English Wikipedia
Subject: RE: [WikiEN-l] Re: Press badges
As a former board member of the Underground Press Syndicate
in the U.S. I certainly agree that Wiki could issue press
credentials, but it is a bit more complicated. We used to
issue our own press cards to member journalists.
Your experience, your *practical* experience and knowledge, is extremely
useful in this discussion.
In the U.S., press credentials that allow access to
situations controlled by police, fire, and other government
agencies are photo ID's issued by a state agency, even though
journalists are not licensed.
Self-generated press credentials can (and have) been abused
by people just trying to get into concerts and other
entertainment venues, so many venues only accept the
state-issued credentials, or credentials from media outlets
they recognize as major.
These are vital points. I think that the last thing we want are Wikifolk
making a nuisance of themselves. That cannot help our reputation.
Covering breaking news with a press credential is, by
definition, original research, which is not allowed on
Wikipedia, and thus I am not sure that Wikipedia should be
issuing press credentials. That would seem to be done more
appropriately by alternative media on the political left,
center, and right; then published in print or online, and
then brought onto Wikipedia as a published report.
I agree entirely. However, the original poster raised the issue of
photographs, and this is something where better access could improve
Wikipedia. Images of movie stars, for example, would seem to be particularly
hard to get without some form of restriction. We don't allow original
research, (though on reading Wikipedia one might not immediately gain that
impression), but original photography is allowed and is extremely useful
because of the licensing benefits.
Wikinews, however, is a form of alternative media, and
fee free to issue press credentials to members of the
Wikinews community who have a track record of regular and
substantive contributions, and a willingness to recognize
that they are carrying the reputation of Wikinews with them;
and thus should behave in appropriate ways given local
country/city media standards--even if they disagree with
I'm not entirely happy with original reporting - yet. Some of the articles
I've seen run perilously close to POV propaganda.
Also, in some circumstances and some states/countries,
issuing press credentials entails certifying someone as an
agent, and may create an issue of liability in terms of
defamation or other legal issue.
This is probably your most important point. I'm in two minds about it. In
litigation-happy America, do we want to expose ourselves to lawsuits? Win or
lose, these things are expensive to fight.
But at what point do we stand up and take responsibility for our actions? If
an accredited WikiNews photographer comes up with nude photographs of
Hillary Clinton (say). Who goofed? The wikicommunity in issuing the
credentials that allowed access to the private fund-raiser, or the
photographer in an apalling lapse of judgement?
To my mind, this is an area where wikimanagement with access to proper legal
advice and the wider wikicommunity are going to have to work together to
find the best solution, not just one that feels good.
(And I'm only joking about Hillary Clinton. No offence intended. Feel free
to substitute the Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall, Chelsea Clinton or the
Pope according to personal taste or lack thereof.)