Jimmy Wales to Launch Crowdfunded News Site Wikitrubine to Fight 'Alternative Facts'

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is the latest tech leader to try his hand at solving the fake news problem. Wales intends to cover general issues, such as USA and United Kingdom politics, through to specialist science and technology, it said.

Describing Wikitribune as "news by the people and for the people", Wales was quoted as saying: "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".

Readers can visit the site for free, and anyone - like with Wikipedia - can submit changes to stories which are then reviewed and updated transparently.

Wales lists some high-profile advisors on the Wikitribune home page: journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, marketing expert and former Apple staffer Guy Kawasaki and actor and entrepreneur Lily Cole.

However, the editorial content and direction of the website will also have input from these contributors, even to the point that they would be able to fact-check and make small edits to published articles.

The Wikitribune community will help fact-check and copy-edit stories, as well as suggest topics to cover.

The news site, called Wikitribune, will be a hybrid model that will be funded by donations from supporters at a cost of £10 or $15 a month in order to pay for a team of journalists to write stories, along with online contributors, according to the Financial Times. These could be specialist subjects, like Bitcoin, or local news, if enough money can be raised for a local reporter. "There are a variety of people who - if it does this right - will view it as a trusted platform", Joshua Benton, director of Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab, told the BBC.

Very noble, top idea - but it won't likely take on the news giants of the world - because as much as Jimmy Wales seemingly detests click-bait, it's not going anywhere soon. "But another 10 to 20 people are not going to "fix the news.' There's certainly a model for non-profit news that can be successful [.] but I have a hard time seeing this scale up into becoming a massive news organization".

  • Zachary Reyes