None of these dedicated reporters and editors is paid for their efforts. In fact, most of them don’t know the first thing about professional journalism. All however are as passionate about their craft as the top earners at the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News or the BBC. What’s more, they’re convinced they can offer better journalism than anything professional news organizations currently supply; one stripped of all bias, covering areas long ago neglected by a mainstream media and produced by thousands of committed citizen correspondents all over the world. This is the dream of Wikinews.
Objectivity, no political agenda and the puritanical pursuit of truth? Surely that’s a pipedream? It’s certainly not a historical trait of American media. Yet if the lessons of the last year have taught us anything, it is that we dismiss citizen journalism at our peril.
“We were both kinda addicted to Star Wars Galaxies,” explains Ilya a little defensively. “I would travel [in the game] and claim I was with the press so they shouldn’t shoot me. But they still did.”
It’s not being glib to say that Ilya’s Star Wars Galaxy experience translates well to Wikinews. All the interactive and community skills that today’s 20-somethings have learned online provide the underpinning of this new participatory media. And given all the time and effort Ilya spent “practicising” being a journalist – learning style guides and how to structure a news story, who’s to say he’s any less equipped to start plying the trade than many journalism graduates? —Matthew Yeomans
—The Birth of WikiNews (Citrizens Kane)