FAQs: reliability

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What facts will you be relying on? Who decides what’s true?
Human beings working together in good faith to assess the evidence. We’ll also have paid journalists on staff who will go out and do real reporting. Old school.

How will we know the sources you use are accurate?
One key to this is to minimise the use of anonymous sources wherever possible, and to ask our sources to provide proof. We’ll also be weighing our sources’ information against other evidence.

Will Wikitribune consider partnering with trustworthy local media groups for fact-checking?
Yes, we’re very eager to partner with other organisations.

Verification by subscribers, volunteers and supporters is a great idea, but how does WikiTribune intend to audit quality and impartiality?
In the same way we’ll audit everything else – it’s going to be an open dialogue to work out the details.

Will we be able to see sources for all articles?
Yes, to the maximum degree possible. Anonymous sourcing is important and necessary in some cases, but in general should be avoided.

We believe that one of the reasons people have such low trust in media these days is an excessive reliance on “people familiar with the matter.”

We want to lead the charge toward an attitude that anonymous sourcing is something to use judiciously and rarely – it’s much stronger to show your work.

WikiTribune aims to ensure journalists only write articles based on facts that they can verify, and sources we can see. How will that work in the case of investigative journalism and primary research?
A large part of investigative journalism and primary research involves getting people to go on the record with comments, and obtaining access to relevant documents.

Our belief is that as far as possible, all that stuff should be published as supporting material. In a traditional top-down setting, someone else inside the paper (usually more senior, like an editor) will review it, but in our model, it should be seen by the community.

Will WikiTribune be a reliable source for Wikipedia?
We hope so. One of the things we need to do is ensure that our overall editorial process results in good quality reporting – a serious reputation for fact checking is key to acceptance on Wikipedia.

What are you looking for in the journalists you hire?
One key characteristic is to “get” online communities and realise that there is great talent out in the world that should be utilised. Of course, given the way most news websites are structured (article at the top, unedited commenters at the bottom), there tends to be a negative view of community among some reporters – but our journalists and community will be positive.

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