Wikipedia:How the Current events page works

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The Current events portal and associated pages are where we list news on a daily basis with a link to background articles. Of primary importance are events. In addition, trends and developments are also listworthy. However, we do not list editorials and opinion pieces laden with point-of-view. Please note that there are extra pages for regional and topic-specific news.


How the current events portal helps Wikipedia

Many people use search engines to find information on current events. Probably a very significant percentage of searches on Yahoo, Google, etc., on any given day, are on topics that are big at the moment. If we make an effort to add relevant links to the current events portal and to create good articles for whatever that page is linking to, we will be useful to those visitors. We will also establish a reputation for being a place where people can come to find information on things that are happening right now.

Wikipedia is not a news service

That's the job of Wikinews. We shouldn't be in the business of writing articles about breaking news stories, unless we can be very confident, as in the case of the September 11 attacks, that in the future there will be a significant call for an encyclopedia article on that topic. One very significant danger is that news articles must be kept current in order to remain accurate. Wikipedians might begin a news article and then simply lose interest in the topic, whereupon the article becomes inaccurate. In short, we aren't set up to be an amateur news organization, and we shouldn't try to compete with professional news organizations.

Moreover, Wikipedia is not a collection of primary source material. Direct first-hand reporting of current events is primary source material. Wikinews accepts primary source material, however, and is a repository of such primary source material that is there for Wikipedia to cite.

Wikinews can also be cited in its capacity as an amalgam of primary sources. Citing a news summary article on Wikinews, which in its turn cites the multitude of news sources that it is summarizing, can save Wikipedia the trouble of citing the long list of news sources directly itself.

The current events portal is a news backgrounder

What we can do, probably better than professional news organizations in many cases (who often give inadequate background information), is write in-depth background articles on topics that deeply inform and facilitate a sophisticated understanding of current events. Hence, while we almost certainly wouldn't want to write an article about, for example, the fall of Mazari Sharif to the Northern Alliance, we certainly would welcome articles about the Northern Alliance, Mazar Sharif, ethnic conflict, etc. In many ways, having that background is more important than following the daily news itself.

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