WikiTribune courts women

‘Kopel emphasises the importance of creating an environment where women feel comfortable as contributors. “We have strong women leading WikiTribune and are going to make sure we have equal numbers of women employees all over”’
the shard1
High atop ‘the shard’…

A sure way to get into the news cycle these days is to have something that mentions women.  The Drum has a new opinion piece about WikiTribune with extensive quotations from Orit Kopel, one of the founding members of WikiTribune.

According to the piece, Wikitribune now has 13 journalists and tech specialists, but it is not clear how many of them are women. The readership is characterized as 25% women “on some days”.  In spite of the lack of solid numbers, that is actually kind of nice, although it seems that a new and unknown startup would be an easier, not to mention lower-paying place for women to get a foot in the door.

Kopel herself seems to be doing well.  If her Twitter account is any indication, she is sought after as a keynote speaker and on panels for judging awards.  She continues to work with the Jimmy Wales Foundation, and although this does not seem as active as before, there is a new announcement about a joint grant program with Creative Commons, the Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund, to promote open communities in the Arab world. Who wouldn’t want to be young, in London, at the beginning of their career, and working with Jimmy Wales.

The piece has a few other tidbits about WikiTribune.

  • The office is in the controversial building known as The Shard.
  • They do not have a podcast (for what??!?) but they do livestream the morning staff meeting on Facebook.  This would seem to weed out a few women, especially in the developing world, who prefer Twitter’s anonymity, as opposed to Facebook, which has adamantly opposed any change to the FB real name policies that leave women open to harassment.
  • WikiTribune is not so much about “news” as about “stories”, they prefer to promote one “story” at a time, like a blog, and have run one story for several months at a time.
  • Although WikiTribune is largely an aggregator of sources, much like Wikipedia, WikiTribune insiders would like WikiTribune to qualify as a source for Wikipedia, and be routinely linked to from Wikipedia, in order to help their business model.
  • The last time I checked WikiTribune’s content, it seemed like a lot of old news that was not worth my time to explore, but this article has showcased several pieces that I may go back and look for one day: 1) a 5,000-word background piece by New Zealand journalist Michael Field on China’s influence in the South Pacific, 2) a series of essays from former French diplomat Jean-Jacques Subrenat 3) coverage of stories on cryptocurrencies.
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4 thoughts on “WikiTribune courts women

  1. I’m intrigued by the technology that allows them to determine the gender of their readers. Does it involve hacking into the camera and using facal recognition tchnology?

  2. I don’t know which I find more disconcerting, the notion that what you describe is some sort of elaborate techno-scam on the part of Google, or the notion that it might actually work.

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