Through a new effort, Wikinews, members of the open-source community who write and edit Wikipedia’s encyclopedia entries are encouraged to test their skills as journalists. The news site follows a similar set of rules as the encyclopedia, which allows anyone to edit and post corrections to entries, so long as each change is recorded.–Joanna Glasner —Wikipedia Creators Move Into News (WIred)
I wish this development in Wikipedia had occurred a few months ago, so I could use it in my “Writing for the Internet” class. We’re already wrapping up the term, and there really isn’t time to introduce a new activity.
The site is still in demo mode, so I’ll withhold my evaluation for now.
I don’t expect that it will be the best source to go to for breaking news — but it might be an excellent resource for finding follow-ups to stories that you found compelling. Just bookmark the article that interests you, and check it every so often for major changes (such as links to related stories, new backgrounders and sidebars, etc.).
But who knows… if an eyewitness e-mails a cell phone photo and uploads a quick description of breaking news, the traditional media might use Wikipedia as a valuable “ear to the ground”.
I do hope they will have some kind of moderation system, so that stories filed by eyewitnesses will get higher visibility than stories compiled from wire reports.