Wikinews | criticism

Criticism

Wikinews has been criticized for its perceived inability to be neutral or include only verified and true information. Robert McHenry, former editor-in-chief of the Encyclopædia Britannica, criticized the credibility of the project:

Above all, the central question about the Wikinews effort is its credibility. Making a newspaper is hard...Someone who wants to do it but doesn't really know how hasn't solved the problem by gathering a lot of other people who don't know, either.[13]

McHenry was skeptical about Wikinews' ability to provide a neutral point of view and its claim to be evenhanded: "The naïveté is stunning."[13]

In a 2007 interview Sue Gardner, at that time a special adviser to the board of the Wikimedia Foundation and former head of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Internet division, CBC.ca, dismissed McHenry's comment, stating:

Journalism is not a profession ... at its heart, it's just a craft. And that means that it can be practiced by anyone who is sensible and intelligent and thoughtful and curious ... I go back to the morning of Virginia Tech – the morning I decided I wanted to work [at the Wikimedia Foundation]. The conversation on the talk page that day was extremely thoughtful. I remember thinking to myself that if my own newsroom had been having a conversation that intelligent (I was offsite that day) I would have been delighted. So yes, [in my opinion] you absolutely have proved Robert McHenry wrong. And you will continue to.[14]

Wikinews has also had issues with maintaining a separate identity from Wikipedia, which also covers major news events in real-time. Columnist Jonathan Dee of The New York Times pointed out in 2007 that "So indistinct has the line between past and present become that Wikipedia has inadvertently all but strangled one of its sister projects, the three-year-old Wikinews... [Wikinews] has sunk into a kind of torpor; lately it generates just 8 to 10 articles a day... On bigger stories there's just no point in competing with the ruthless purview of the encyclopedia."[15] Andrew Lih and Zachary M. Seward commented on the continuing issue in a 2010 piece in the Nieman Journalism Lab, "Why Wikipedia beats Wikinews as a collaborative journalism project." Lih wrote "it's not clear that the wiki process really gears itself towards deadlines and group narrative writing" and that "if you're trying to write something approaching a feature piece, it's much harder to get more than two or three people to stay consistent with the style."[16] Lih considers Wikipedia's stricter "formula" for article composition an advantage in a large wiki with many editors.[16]