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Proposal talk:Wikinews Accredited Reporter Identity Cards

From Strategic Planning
Latest comment: 14 years ago by Brian McNeil in topic PGP

So, you only have to possess a sufficiently professional looking card to be credited as a journalist? You don't need some legal/bureaucratic recognition? And how can free-lance journalist work? Nemo 21:57, 20 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Errr, there is no bureaucratic recognition of what a journalist is. There is no such thing as a truly accredited journalist. All accreditation means is that the journalist who receives that accreditation carries the reputation of whatever organization they work for with them (and that they can affect that reputation, for good or for ill). It's not like there is a test or something to become a journalist. If you say you are a journalist, then you are. It's a broad term that ultimately means very little; it is just a state of mind:P.
There is of course legal protection for anyone who choses to act in a journalistic fashion (... in some places anyway), but it's not like there is some government approved list of who is a journalist and who isn't. There are plenty of freelance journalists out there.
Where being a member of a well known news organization helps is legitimacy. When people see a badge that says "CNN", they think "wow, a journalist", and they are either eager to talk to CNN, or anxious not to, depending on their mood;). But that's nothing more than branding. That's just like the brand recognition that Sony, Microsoft, or Apple get, even when they put out inferior products. CNN, Fox, NBC, etc aren't necessarily better journalists than anyone else, they just have better name recognition. That's it. (The percentage of Original Reporting stories that they do is comparable to what Wikinews does. Everything else that they publish is copy/pasted from someone else.)
So yes, to a certain extent, you "only have to possess a sufficiently professional looking card to be credited as a journalist". Because really, as a journalist, all you're trying to do is convince people that you're trustworthy. A shiny badge or card helps with that:).
Not entirely on topic, but being part of a large corporation can help with legal issues, like getting security clearance to be in a secured area like various government briefing rooms. Freelance journalists can do it themselves, but it isn't a cheap nor fast process, so most don't bother trying. It's nice to have multi-million dollar law firms working for you:P. But again, that has nothing to do with journalists somehow being "approved", that has to do with them being employees of a multi-national. Having money is fun:P. If you were rich enough you could do all that stuff on your own. Gopher65talk 01:46, 21 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Hmm, this is very different from what happens in Italy. Here, to work as a journalist you have to be part of the Ordine dei giornalisti (well, I can't even say if there's something like an "ordine professionale": it's a sort of guild), and to be a member you have to pass a test, etc. Nemo 14:12, 24 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
That's... frightening. So there aren't freelance journalists there, and everyone has to be approved by a central authority before they are allowed to distribute news? Geez, why not just install a dictatorial regime and be done with it?:P Gopher65talk 15:17, 24 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Well, not really: only professional news journals have to be registered (although the current govern would like to impose the registration to blogs, too), and they "only" need to have a "responsible director" which must be a "real" journalist. Actually, I don't know how can free-lance journalists (who exist!) work. Nemo 15:34, 24 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Ah, ok. Not quite as bad as I thought. Not as good as it could be, but not as bad as it could be either;). Gopher65talk 15:43, 24 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • In Belgium, as in many other European countries your press pass is issued by the government, ministry of interior to be precise. The criteria they apply for granting you a journalist's press pass are that you must make the majority of your income from working as a journalist. --Brian McNeil 10:51, 22 September 2009 (UTC)Reply

As much as I would love to have one

It seems we as a community are better off working towards legal recognition that all people perform the basic functions of journalists in their conversations with the people they interact with on a daily basis than trying to support an elitist class system. 08:50, 21 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

"Legal recognition"? Most countries don't have a legal definition certification for "Journalist". You work for CNN, you're considered a journalist - but they don't give you some government issued ID that says that. --ShakataGaNai 23:16, 13 September 2009 (UTC)Reply
Not in America, but they do in many other countries. --Brian McNeil 10:51, 22 September 2009 (UTC)Reply
I think this would actually help towards legitimizing non-profit-based news services and individual reporters. Baby steps. --Lyc. cooperi 08:46, 1 October 2009 (UTC)Reply


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:19, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply

This will have an impact on our end users, how massive it is depends how well it is executed. It will allow WN contributors to identify themselves as freelance members of the press. It will increase the amount of Original Reporting available to our readers. It will increase the number of journalistic pictures / videos / files being released on commons. --Skenmy 18:53, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply
I don't think there will be a direct correlation from the implementation of these ID cards to end-user impact (unlike say, flagged revisions). The impact will be much as Skenmy has stated. Wikinewsies will be better able to gain access to events as press, and therefor have better media & stories to return with for the end user to enjoy. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 23:26, 13 September 2009 (UTC)Reply
I'd say that most of the impact will be on Wikinews's credibility as a real reporting agency. This IDcard action can't be seen as a single proposal, but rather as part of a whole spiderweb of interacting proposals that are designed, as a whole, to raise Wikinews's credibility as a new agency. I think that these proposals as a whole will have a significant impact on Wikinews. Gopher65talk 14:36, 15 September 2009 (UTC)Reply
  • The impact here is that Wikinewsies will - to most people - be able to become recognised journalists. The real impact is when we've a couple of Wikinewsies in Washington, DC and we've built the credibility that they could get into the White House press corps. Call it a 'democratisation' of journalism, or a journalistic meritocracy, but the push is towards getting otherwise restricted access and share that with the wider community. That will have a significant impact, but not overnight, and not without some vigilance to build a history of credibility into the process. I.e. the impact will become more significant as time passes. --Brian McNeil 13:54, 22 September 2009 (UTC)Reply


It seems to me that the cost is greatly inflated, I'm not sure why we're paying "printer set-up costs" for example when most reputable printing companies don't require that. For example, psprint.com will run 100 laminated ID badges, including free shipping and no set-up costs, for $270; compared to the $2,250 quoted on this proposal. All we need is essentially something business-card sized at minimum, 4x6 at maximum, laminated - that has a uniform clean look. Can they be counterfeited? Sure, so can a CNN identity card - the phone number on the card to "ascertain" its legibility is all that is key. Sherurcij 22:54, 28 September 2009 (UTC)Reply

We've been discussing this as well. In all likelihood we'd go with an ID printing service rather than an ID printer itself. The longterm costs aren't that different, but printing services don't break down, nor do they need to be shipped around at great cost like a printer would have to be if the user who is entrusted with running the printer can no longer do it. ($2250 is something of an exaggeration. We could probably get a used printer + accessories off ebay for >$US600 + shipping, if we did go that route).
Another advantage of using a service is that they update their anti-counterfeiting technology continuously, which is something we couldn't do with a printer. No cheap ID card like this will be counterfeit proof, but we want to make it more trouble than it's worth for trolls to fake an ID card. Gopher65talk 23:18, 28 September 2009 (UTC)Reply


One could also supply an official Wikinews PGP signature and/or X.509 certificate. --Fasten 11:50, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply

Which is, effectively, useless unless you're dealing with someone who has a clue what these things are. --Brian McNeil 10:58, 15 November 2009 (UTC)Reply
I don't know what your email client does but I do seem to remember that Mozilla Thunderbird makes it quite clear that an email has been signed with an X.509 certificate and what that means and Enigmail is also quite convenient. --Fasten 11:27, 15 November 2009 (UTC)Reply
I use Evolution. It supports PGP, GPG, X.509. Guess what? Most people you actually have to deal with have no clue what these things are, or don't use them. Even RMS @ MIT.EDU doesn't sign his emails. --Brian McNeil 11:35, 15 November 2009 (UTC)Reply
Interesting. De-Mail is a German initiative to allow the transport of legal documents with a next generation email service. The system is about to be launched by the German Telekom. German Mail is launching a similar but non-compliant service this year. --Fasten 12:22, 15 November 2009 (UTC)Reply
I would also add that I simply do not trust enough Wikinewsies to keep their computers secure enough to use any cryptographic signatures. I think I'm actually the only onedubious who has sought IPBlockExempt and knows how to use Tor to avoid nonsense like when the UK's IWF tried to selectively block Wikipedia access. It certainly would be a very good idea if less-public communication could be secured and messages authenticated; but, there is a steep learning curve and an ever-present risk of those on Windows and not from an IT background downloading a rootkit. I'd be interested in giving input on Wikiversity doing a self-study course into secure and authenticated communications. I'd also happily give input on building a WMF-web-of-trust; naturally, such would have to in some way integrate with the current process of identifying to the Foundation for OTRS and other privileged access. But, as I say, there would have to be a high level of confidence that people had some understanding of security as a process instead of just having a nice embossed rubber stamp to slap on your emails. --Brian McNeil 13:55, 15 November 2009 (UTC)Reply
I understand your concern with computer security. Does that make you a supporter of Proposal:Authoring groups? --Fasten 14:01, 15 November 2009 (UTC)Reply
That's actually quite an interesting proposal. Wikinews in quite a number of ways does similar things with Flagged Revisions and the project's archiving policy for main namespace. --Brian McNeil 20:12, 15 November 2009 (UTC)Reply