[Foundation-l] [Wikinews-l] Proposal for the creation of a Wikinews foundation

Ilya Haykinson haykinson at gmail.com
Wed Aug 22 15:59:27 UTC 2007

On 8/21/07, Craig Spurrier <craig at craigweb.net> wrote:
> I am proposing the creation of a separate organization that would allow
> Wikinews to properly handle press accreditation. The Wikimedia

I strongly believe that the development of internal and external
organizational structures that support our projects' interaction with
other online and offline communities is critical to our long term
abilities to sustain the projects.  But as Erik, Delphine, and others
point out there are some core questions that need to be answered:

- what does this organization do?  is it just accreditation or is it
more general support of Wikinews activities?
- what is the nature of this organization's relationship with WMF?
what is the governance structure of this organization?
- where does the funding come from?  who gets to set the budget?
- how does this organization interact with local chapters and other
WMF initiatives?

I believe that answering these questions for Wikinews will help create
a solution for other projects' needs as well, both for very specific
ideas like supporting accreditation as well as more general ideas like
interest groups.

In the case of the problem Craig describes the issue of recognition
needs to be addresses by a believably-named organization that has
Wikinews in its name and is international in scope to reduce
duplication of effort (and deal with the fact that we need recognition
in many more geographical areas than those with established chapters).

I suggest the following as a set of answers to the questions from
above that satisfies this goal:

1) Create a non-profit organization with an international scope whose
goals are to provide material support for Wikinews community members
for the purpose of content creation, issue press cards to any
community member accredited by one of the projects, and represent the
projects as a central point of contact in interactions with other
news-making or news-reporting organizations.

2) name the organization something that sounds like a news credential
granting organization: Wikinewswire, or Wikinews Press, or something
along these lines.  The problem with the "foundation" or "union"
approach is that traditional foundations and unions are
internally-focused and are not known to issue press cards in the "real

3) set the organization up as a standalone non-profit organization
with its own governance structure, but create a strong set of
requirements that the organization must adhere to if it wishes to
retain a license to use a WMF-trademarked name.  The requirements may
be that the organization cannot pretend or be the publisher of core
Wikinews material; must not encourage the creation of non-open
content; must not represent itself as the WMF; must report on its
activities to the WMF twice a year, etc.

4) have the organization be responsible for its own funding, but have
the WMF provide the license for its trademarked names for free, and
encourage the WMF to provide small funding opportunities to these
kinds of interest groups.

5) by becoming a partner to the WMF with regards to a given project,
this new organization also becomes a de-facto partner to the chapters.
 The organization may approach the chapters for help with
bureaucracies in certain locales; the chapters on the other hand may
use the organization to serve as the point of contact for all
Wikinews-related inquiries.

By creating this sort of a structure the WMF retains some oversight
over project-specific organizations, and reserves the right to help
these kinds of organizations with funding etc, but at the same time
allows them to live and die on their own.  If the organization becomes
a strong enabler of content creation, the WMF may even choose to
internalize some of this organization's functions down the line.

-ilya haykinson

(crossposting to foundation-l)

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