Wikipedia:WikiProject Newspapers/Notability

There are many newspapers, and not every one is notable. This is a guideline created by WikiProject Newspapers to help assess the notability of newspapers. Feel free to discuss improvements on the project talk page. (In the short term, please just reach out directly to User:Peteforsyth.)
This essay gives some guidance on points to consider in evaluating the notability of newspapers. It supplements the overall general notability guideline and other guidelines that might relate to newspapers, such as organisations, schools and styles.

Newspapers can have a significant impact on the areas they serve, and in representing those areas to the wider world. Because its impact may be felt over a long period of time, a newspaper may be very significant, without attracting the kind of general review in other publications that would most handily fulfill Wikipedia's general notability guideline. Additionally, while newspapers and magazines may review and critique other works of non-fiction (books, documentaries, scholarly works) it is not customary for newspapers themselves to receive the sort of reviews and critiques that often inform notability in other non-fiction realms. In this essay, you will find a number of signals that can indicate the significance of a newspaper, and inform an evaluation of its notability.

The following are good things to consider in evaluating a newspaper's notability in terms of Wikipedia's general notability guideline (GNG):

  • It is referred to in one or more strong reliable sources as the newspaper of record for a certain locale, in the reputational (i.e., subjective) sense.
  • It can be verified as a "newspaper of public record" -- that is, identified by government entities as a place to public legal notices.
  • It is included in a list of newspaper published by its state government (for instance, here).
  • Its leadership is repeatedly quoted in other reliable sources, with reference to their leadership title and their expertise on the publication's topic (e.g., the culture or economic makeup of a town for a local paper)
  • The paper has won state, province, or national level awards for reporting, feature-writing, editorial, or photography.
  • A history of news media (e.g. a book or an article in an academic journal) discusses the newspaper
  • The paper's role in a historical event is covered as central in histories of the event
  • Changes in ownership or leadership are covered by other newspapers in its region or covering a similar topic
  • Its launch or demise is covered in other newspapers in its region or covering a similar topic
  • General media publications with national or international distribution, like Editor and Publisher or The Fourth Estate, cover the newspaper
  • Publications that cover the evolving nature of journalism, such as Poynter, Nieman Lab, or Columbia Journalism Review highlight something about the newspaper (e.g., a new business or distribution model, serving an underserved demographic, significant changes in circulation, novel editorial policies...)
  • Identified by state government as a place to publish legal notices
  • Its party affiliation or bias is a subject of discussion by prominent media commentator(s).
  • It is historically significant because it was the first newspaper in a given language in the area, e.g. first Spanish-language newspaper in North Carolina, first Chinese language newspaper in California, etc.
  • It is historically significant because it was the first newspaper in the area for a given ethnic or religious group, e.g. the first African-American newspaper in Ohio, the first Catholic newspaper in Ohio, etc.

The following are worth considering, but may not directly contribute to the criteria of the GNG. One way to think about these is that if they pertain, it might be worth some extra effort to find evidence that contributes to the GNG.

  • Its content is or has been frequently syndicated or republished in other reliable sources
  • Its articles are repeatedly cited (or its scoops frequently credited) by other reliable sources
  • The paper itself, and/or its leadership, have held leadership or administrative roles in a journalism society
  • The paper is collected by multiple academic libraries or state archives
  • It frequently features exclusive quotes from government leaders or leaders of prominent institutions or movements. These could include candidate forums for political races, if they attract participation of the main candidates.
  • It is part of a news reporting network, such as ProPublica's Local Reporting Network or the Oregonian's Oregonian News Network.

Benefits of covering newspapersEdit

Because newspapers are frequently used as sources for Wikipedia articles, there can be specific benefits to Wikipedia in more complete coverage of newspapers. If a Wikipedia editor or reader is unfamiliar with a newspaper they see cited in an article, a Wikipedia article about the newspaper might help them evaluate its reliability and/or its potential bias. Worthwhile articles on newspapers can enhance the value of Wikipedia content more broadly.

Additionally, Internet users in general will be better able to evaluate the reliability of a newspaper if they can easily find information about it, whether through Wikipedia itself or through information republished by Google, Facebook, or another service.

Scholarly quotations on the value of newspapersEdit