With one success under my belt, I was excited, determined and ready to publish again on Wikinews. Researching current news on the internet in class, I came across breaking news about floods inundating Russia. This story had newsworthiness, human interest and had not been covered by many other publications, which is why I decided to re-work this story for publication on Wikinews.
After gathering sources, compiling information and writing a news article, I again, followed the vigorous Wikinews’ publication procedures. While I thought the publication process on Wikinews was tough, I believe it would partially mirror the publication procedures of other newsrooms. Wikinews places high importance on adhering to specific style guidelines and newsworthiness, and this can be seen in the majority of newsrooms. Whether it is Fairfax Media style, News Corporation style or independent style guides, all newspapers, magazines and online news sites have a style guide that they follow to ensure consistency and accuracy in their publications. Therefore, similar to all style guides, journalists need to teach themselves the correct style to suit their publication and ensure their work is up to the standards of that style.
Having to follow Wikinews’ style guide felt strenuous and difficult for me but I can understand now that it was because it was new to me and I did not hold enough knowledge on its specific guidelines. However, having to adhere to this specific style guide was effective and essential practice for me as an aspiring news journalist. The many different style guides and their use is explored by Jojo Maling, who identifies that audience affects the style of a publication as well as preference. Wikinews’ style guide therefore, would be different to The Guardian’s style guide because their audiences are different and their context is different. It also illustrated a very realistic picture of how tough a newsroom can be at times and the dedication, efficiency and strength of character that I need to acquire and practice to excel in these situations.
Additionally, another issue rose during the reviewing process of this article. Approximately 10 minutes after I submitted my article for review, I saw on the Wikinews newsroom that another student from my class had submitted the same story. Anger was my first reaction, and that seemed to stay with me for a while, which I regret now. I spent that afternoon and night constantly checking Wikinews for updates on my story or the other student’s story, hoping that mine would get published. Amidst all this, I received an email from the student, asking if we could merge our stories, however, I did not open the email until the morning after and by then it was too late. Both our stories were moved into archives for future use but neither were published.
Reflecting now, if I would have not let my own determination and selfishness get in the way, my story could have been published with another student’s. In this situation, I believe peer collegiality would have been favourable. Again, this reflects newsrooms around the world, where team work and in some cases partnerships work to produce the best stories. I very much believed that journalists are what Klaus Meir called “lonely riders.” After my experience and reading Meir’s article, I am a firm believer that with innovation in the newsroom, team work has greater importance than ever.