[Foundation-l] Wikinews - not so much a state of the wiki

Brian McNeil brian.mcneil at wikinewsie.org
Fri Dec 7 10:27:59 UTC 2007

Thomas Dalton wrote:

>I would keep contact info like that privately and just hand it when
>absolutely necessary. If they are personal contacts, then you ought to
>contact them personally, rather than handing out their addresses to
>other people. There is a risk that someone will leave the project and
>take their contacts with them, but, as far as I know, that's the case
>in the journalism industry as a whole, it's not unique to Wikinews.

I suppose there are arguments both ways - for keeping things to yourself, or
for sharing contact details with other reporters. I'd actually like to have
us maintain a private list of contacts for use with details of which
reporter first contacted them, and which reporter last contacted them (and a
list of everyone else that has too). For procedure like that I believe we
should use a process of introductions, i.e. last person to contact someone
writes the first email, CCs the person who needs to ask the questions or
fill out the story, and it goes from there.

You can bet in mainstream journalism that when someone moves from one place
to another they take their contacts' details. If you've done the job right
you've established a rapport that will survive you moving to a differing
publication, as well as established a relationship on behalf of your
previous employer that will allow them to continue using the contact. It may
not always work like that in the real world, but if Wikinews strives for
that then we can survive the eventual point where one or more of our
contributors make the jump to paid journalism.

At the moment we've only got one item that is under embargo, and I don't
think it will be a really big story, but the other things being worked on
are about the limit of what can be done in public.


The above is an article waiting on answers to questions, we wouldn't be
getting this opportunity has we not been in on the 2004 SOP leak. Our
forwarding of the document and links landed us a contact with HRW's Senior
Counterterrorism Counsel; serendipity did so just as the habeas corpus case
starts up in the Supreme Court.

You will note from the second paragraph of the above work in progress we
have contact with James Yee the former Guantanamo chaplain. He's our next
<s>victim</s> interview candidate.

Anyway, I've probably rambled enough. I'm hoping people on list can see how
this links into looking into flagged revisions. That would mean Google would
carry all this heavyweight stuff we're managing to do and list it at a
respectable position on their results.

On that topic, Erik mentioned contacts with Google having gone stale; if
anyone has a current contact they can forward to me privately (Jimmy?) that
I can start discussing what we'd need to do to meet their standards I'd like
to do so. I would greatly appreciate their feedback on proposals for a
flagging authority procedure and guidelines for those with the permission. I
am sure they would understand some of the legal aspects that are of concern,
such as keeping the Foundation uninvolved.

Brian McNeil

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