Submissions:2018/Fighting Fake News with Real Information: WikiProject Newspapers

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Due to limited space, WikiConference North America 2018 unfortunately could not accommodate this submission in its program this year.
Please check out our Unconference for opportunities to present and share there.

Fighting Fake News with Real Information: WikiProject Newspapers
Theme (optional)
Focused Content Generation Strategies
Academic Peer Review option
Type of submission
Presentation (and discussion)
Pete Forsyth
E-mail address
contact form
Wikimedia username
Affiliation(s) (optional)
Owner, Wiki Strategies

Wikipedia is the one major, broadly participatory Internet platform whose design tends to counter "fake news." Evaluation of the quality of information sources is at the core of Wikipedia's approach; platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are finding that they need to retrofit source evaluation into products that fundamentally emphasize sharing over deliberation.

That's a key premise that prompted digital polarization and media literacy expert Mike Caulfield to start WikiProject Newspapers, which aims to create 1,000 Wikipedia articles about notable local newspapers in the United States by December 2018. Recent research has suggested that information consumers are generally willing to do 90 seconds or so of research into the quality of a publication, if information is readily available; but many newspapers are difficult to research. In many cases, multiple decades of reporting have earned reviews from other newspapers, academic and government entities, and statewide prizes; but much of that information is obscured paywalls or other obstacles that make it challenging to discover. By summarizing such information into Wikipedia articles -- even very short ones -- Wikipedia editors can provide a resource that is republished in Google Knowledge Graph boxes, on Facebook pages, and elsewhere, helping numerous consumers of news evaluate the reliability of what they're reading.

This project is primarily defined by its content generation goal, but an essential tactic in meeting that goal is engaging new and existing Wikipedia editors. To that end, Mike recruited a charitable sponsor who will donate a $25 "bounty" to the charity "Room to Read" for each qualifying submission. He has also recruited several university instructors, who will assign their students to create Wikipedia articles, and submit them for review and/or expansion by more experienced Wikipedia editors.

We will present a midway report on the achievements of the project. The report may include:

  • Notability: Our efforts to develop a notability guideline specific to newspapers.
  • Research resources: How we have gone about curating research resources (such as online books about local newspapers) for use by project participants.
  • WikiProject insights: What we have learned about running a WikiProject, including approaches to measuring and reporting success, and opportunities to collaborate with other projects.
  • Wikidata: How we have approached Wikidata as an offshoot of this Wikipedia-focused project.
  • Instructional materials: How we present Wikipedia tasks to new contributors.
  • Relevant research: How research into media literacy and Wikipedia can inform a project like ours.

Following a brief presentation, we will invite participants to discuss how to structure WikiProjects which aim to rapidly generate content and/or engage new contributors in useful tasks. We will capture our notes and share them back in a Wikipedia project page, blog post, or similar.

Project page: Wikipedia:WikiProject Newspapers

Length of presentation
30-45 minutes
Special requests
Preferred room size
Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?

I have run several panel discussions on Wikipedia and journalism, and also on collaboration on Wikipedia, at:

If you will be incorporating a slidedeck during your presentation, do you agree to upload it to Commons before your session, with a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license, including suitable attribution in the slidedeck for any images used?
Yes, multi-licensed CC BY 4.0
Will you attend WikiConference North America if your submission is not accepted?
Perhaps, but less likely

Interested attendees

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  1. Mozucat (talk) 16:43, 23 August 2018 (UTC)
  2. Jami (Wiki Ed) (talk) 21:51, 27 August 2018 (UTC)
  3. Ragesoss (talk) 19:00, 28 August 2018 (UTC)
  4. BobCummings (talk) 19:35, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
  5. Add your username here.