'Wikitribune' aims to tackle fake news problem

And you have Kelly-Anne Conway to thank for it...

'Wikitribune' aims to tackle fake news problem

Picture by: Sascha Steinach/DPA/PA Images

Jimmy Wales has a new passion project – fighting fake news.

To do so, the Wikipedia founder has announced his plans to launch Wikitribune, which will operate as a cross between a standard news outlet and the community-powered encyclopedia website that made his name, combining a core team of professional journalists with voluntary online contributors.

Wales is now running a 30-day crowdfunding campaign to raise money to hire and pay 10 journalists at the outset. The community contributors are set to play a key role in ensuring that the content of articles is supported by as much extra information as possible.

Once the campaign concludes, the site will launch, arriving in time to cover the upcoming British snap election on June 8th. Wales believes this model will mean that Wikitribune is "not about chasing clicks". He also wants to avoid "'he said, she said' faux neutrality, or having a Paul Dacre [editor of the Daily Mail] agenda and ramming things down our throats".

He added:

“If you take a look at Wikipedia, it’s noisy and not a perfect place, but for true fake news, there’s been almost no impact on the Wikipedia community.

“The volunteers are experienced enough to know it’s nonsense, and have an ethos saying: ‘No, we’re here for neutral facts’: that community knows it from the ground up.”

Launching #wikitribune for a better evidence-based journalism. Join us at https://t.co/VxXsEFZs0r pic.twitter.com/KxxvmqndI7

Wikitribune will cover current affairs, including US and UK politics, as well as topics such as science and technology.

Calling it "news by the people and for the people", Wales said:

“This will be the first time that professional journalists and citizen journalists will work side-by-side as equals writing stories as they happen, editing them live as they develop, and at all times backed by a community checking and rechecking all facts.”

Wales also revealed that it was words from the current counselor to US President Donald Trump that sparked him into action.

He told Business Insider on Monday:

"I've been thinking about this for quite a long time, I've been working on ideas and so forth, it was always a backburner project.

"But there was a moment: A friend had persuaded me that we should all give Donald Trump 100 days, we should just assume the best and hope he would do well, and be supportive of the presidency in general.

"And then on day one, Kellyanne Conway came out and said 'alternative facts,' and I was like 'that's it, game over, I'm done, I can't put up with this.' So that's when I really started pushing forward, to say this really needs to happen – I need, for my personal feeling of values in the world, I need to be involved in trying to help with this problem."