September 17, 2021

Wikimedia Policy Statement: “Wikipedia Needs Local Journalism And The Open Web — We All Should Support Both”

From a Wikimedia Policy Statement:

Wikipedia, which does not run ads, has just turned 20. One of its core principles is to only include information that can be verified through references to trusted sources. This essentially means two things: First, to continue to be reliable as an encyclopedia and to grow and include more information about the world we live in, Wikipedia relies both on journalism that investigates, reports, and documents the things that are going on around us. Second, to be truly collaborative and earn the trust of volunteers and readers, Wikipedia tries to link to the sources that it cites. Links allow everyone to verify for themselves whether information seems trustworthy and whether it is described accurately in a Wikipedia article. That is to say: Wikipedia needs both a vibrant and diverse landscape of news media, and also depends on the open Web, both to link to original sources and as a searchable space for information that is categorized and curated by people, organizations, and companies offering their services. When journalists stop reporting because they don’t get paid, or when people can no longer use search engines to find news on the Web to cite in Wikipedia, our online encyclopedia suffers.

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From Wikimedia’s perspective, laws like the Australian Code or the European “publishers right” are inadequate approaches to the problem of media sustainability and diversity. New offerings to showcase some news media on a platform or private funds to support technology and innovation in media are necessary but insufficient to tackle the larger challenges that we see around the world. To protect the public interest in verifiable and unbiased reporting that allows society to make informed decisions, we cannot leave this space entirely to for-profit technology companies or large media corporations. Given the media’s role as the fourth estate and much larger crises that we all need to tackle as democracies, new revenue models and support for journalism through independent and institutional funders will be required to develop global solutions — just like against the climate crisis — that also protect the open Web as a space to find truthful information. Wikipedia needs both sustainable journalism and a vibrant and healthy internet to flourish.

Learn More, Read the Complete Statement (1023 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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