by SonicR - September 2005
English and German-language beta-versions of Wikinews started in December 2004. Now there are Wikinews versions in 14 languages. The last versions which have started were Serbian and Japanese. The three largest ones are English, German-language and Polish. In August 2005, 1.000 users were registered on de.wikinews. After adjusting article namespace German-language version draws near the milestone of 2.000 articles (1689 articles on August the 4th).
News sites and blogs reacted sceptically towards Wikinews right after its start (an example). One of their main arguments was that the Wiki-principle won't work on a news site. At an encyclopedia, such as Wikipedia, articles can be developed and improved without any pressure of time. Unlike at a news source where an article has to be published close to the event the article is about. Furthermore, they noticed the lack of original reporting in Wikinews. Because Wikinews cites news agencies and articles from mainstream news sites like BBC News or CNN as sources, it could not (yet) be considered as an alternative news source.
However, de.wikinews has made a positive development. The number of new articles written per day has increased. According to Erik Zachte's statistics there were more articles written per day for the first time in June 2005 on de.wikinew than on en.wikinews. Moreover, the quality of the articles is quite solid. Events which play a major role in the coverage of the mass media are covered by Wikinews, too. Besides, useres have established coverage of events and topics which reflect their interest. Compared to most other news sources useres decide which events they cover answering their personal interest and not the brief of an editorial staff. This could lead to an interesting and multifaceted range of topics as the community gets bigger.
Especially events which received massive public interest and media coverage, such as December 2004 Earthquake in Southeast Asia and the London bombings, have shown that a wiki works well for a news site. Many users participated in the collaborative and fast process of writing and improving the article. Blogs and news sites have commended these articles because they were written from a neutral point of view, matter of fact and gave a good overview. An advantage of Wikinews ist that it can be used as a free news archive. Since the first writing contest on the English version was a succes helping to increase the number of new articles per day, there will be an international writing contest, soon.
To spread articles containing original reporting through different versions of Wikinews, WORTNET was created. The article OhmyNews citizen reporters meet in Seoul, Korea about a citizen reporter meeting, in which Erik Möller participated for Wikinews, was translated in Dutch, German, French and Spanish. Dresdener WOBA soll verkauft werden - Mieter verbittert is an example for original reporting content on de.wikinews.
Statistics and articles on wikinews
- Awareness statistics
- Wikinews In the news
- St.Galler Tagblatt: "Wikipedias Schwäche" (Critical article about Wikinews in German language