Fake news is a problem that must be solved and new platform WikiTribune may be the way to do it according to its founder Jimmy Wales.
Wales, known for founding Wikipedia, was speaking to a packed hall at Goldsmiths’ Media Forum event last night.
He was joined by James Harkin, director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, for a discussion about how to win the war against so-called fake news.
Wales described his WikiTribune platform, which launched on Monday, saying it was concentrating on general global news stories but would soon move into local news.
He said it wouldn’t be behind a pay wall, and would not take any money for advertising, but would be funded via crowdsourcing. He said: “It is hard to speak to truth to power when you are owned by power.”
It is on this principle that Wales said he hoped people would make regular donations to WikiTribune in order for him to hire professional journalists and fact checkers.
So far the site has received over 11,000 contributions from a range of one-off donations to people who have pledged to make a monthly donation to the site.
Wales said he hoped that, provided the site is uploading what he described as “unbiased and accurate content”, people would feel it was worth making a donation.
The discussion moved to the issues currently faced by local news and the difficulty of providing good investigative news on a local level with huge cuts to advertising revenue.
He said: “The potential is there for us to really have a shift in the levels of trust … corruption in society is really there if you don’t have people there to investigate local news.”