[Foundation-l] Murdoch newspaper websites to go paywall -opportunity for citizen journalism!

Fred Bauder fredbaud at fairpoint.net
Mon May 11 19:03:36 UTC 2009

If things were different, they would be different. Right now Wikinews can
serve as an aggregator of news first published elsewhere, but Google and
Yahoo can do it better. We can do some original work, at our own expense.

When and if the crisis affecting paper newspapers gets worse an
opportunity may arise to fill a need not being adequately met. But that
need can also be met by new newspapers or on-line sites, perhaps run by
cooperatives made up of experienced laid-off journalists, unburdened by
the heavy burden of debt, onerous labor contracts, and overhead costs
existing newspapers labor under. They may be organized as non-profit
corporations, perhaps subsidized by foundation or even government
subsidies, think Amtrak...


> All of the questions enumerated by Lars are exactly on point - and
> ultimately, I wonder if there is an answer in there that will allow
> Wikinews
> to be widely useful. It may be that there isn't, for now, and that it
> won't
> be broadly useful as a news source until the dynamics of the online news
> business changes.
> I say useful as a news source because it seems like there may be other
> positive uses for Wikinews as a project. Our focus with all projects is
> generating (or collecting) free content in a reusable and easily
> accessible
> format - but that doesn't have to be the limit, and over time the
> Foundation
> is branching into other niches where we can have a beneficial educational
> impact outside of our now "traditional" role.
> There is, for instance, much discussion in the news world about the
> future
> of journalism[1] and specifically investigative reporting and the role of
> reportage in democracy. Wikinews may not be able to play a significant
> role
> in developing the future of journalism as a source for news, but I could
> see
> it being a significant player as an alternative method of training
> journalists and as a way to give new journalists experience and exposure
> in
> an era of shrinking newsroom budgets. Perhaps the best role for Wikinews
> in
> the Wikimedia movement is not in its reporting, per se, but in generating
> experienced journalists and developing the news field for a
> post-newspaper
> future.
> Nathan
> [1] As a good example, see Frank Rich's column in the New York Times,
> "The
> American Press on Suicide Watch",
> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/opinion/10rich.html
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