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Saturday, September 03, 2005


Everyone is leaving !

In fact, even I'm probably not going to be editing any more. Due to Dcabrilo and CraigSpurrier's efforts (inspired by Matthew Miller) we now have a fully automatic RSS feed - so I no-longer have to visit the site every day! Yay! I've posted just over 2,000 articles to the feed over eight months, so I'm glad that's finally done with.

I think Katrina has a lot to do with why I'm "leaving". The media has, in fact, done a fairly good job covering the disaster - certainly better than Wikinews. AP and Reuters, in particular, are pretty sound - you can tell I think that, as my articles are almost always based on those two!

But that then begs the question - why bother with Wikinews? Well, my stock answer of "Wikinews combines information from a range of sources, meaning we can present a fuller picture (no two sources ever contain all the same information). We can also have less bias and potentially more accuracy (we can do our own fact-checking)" still holds true.

But I don't think that is what Wikinews articles always turn out to be. And it's quite tiring to do. I really don't feel like writing anything at the moment - so I won't. I might be back in a couple of days... but I might not.

The media is also a free market - people choose to read whatever they want. The bottom line is that "serious" media - the broadsheet newspapers, the likes of BBC Radio 4 - are not being read or listened to as much. People want to read tabloids, even though they're usually heavily biased and frequently fiction (or at the very least, highly speculative).

(Although, Wikinews is still growing quite steadily, as is the RSS feed - now some 2,900 readers.)

Anyway that's a lot of why I'm taking an indefinite break. I wonder why the others are? I don't think we have the same reasons. But it is quite suprising that so many have come to feel this way at the same time. Maybe there is some underlying reason, something I can't identify.

Footnote: NGerda was back after just three and a half hours. LOL!

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Don't leave! Too many important people have left. I wonder if people are taking arguments too much to heart? All in the rough and tumble of a newsroom is my view, but maybe that's not the reason.

I don't think Katrina has been as good an example of Wikinews as the London bombings were (bigging up the Brits!) - it got too political and rather than trying to achieve synthesis people were too quick to add a new story with a small point of view.
Sadly that makes it look like the bad part of British newspapers: vast amounts of points of views channeled into 'news'. A few stories could have done that in balance and I think it's been too overwhelming for those of us who might have had a crack at putting them together. It's a shame really, because other online sources have really shone.
Anyway, I hope you don't go and if you're reading this you should probably get back and fix whatever's happened to the logo!
Well, I've also started a PGCE at Oxford University(that's teacher training for those who don't know), so have a lot less free time than I used to.

But the bickering has been a defining feature of Wikinews - most of it caused by one user, NGerda. Really, life's too short - he's welcome to the place.
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