|The following is a draft working towards a proposal for adoption as a Wikipedia policy, guideline, or process. |
The proposal must not be taken to represent consensus, but is still in development and under discussion, and has not yet reached the process of gathering consensus for adoption. Thus references or links to this page should not describe it as policy, guideline, nor yet even as a proposal.
- 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
|“||In order to estimate the authenticity of the newspaper, it is necessary to take account of the conditions under which the newspaper is produced. These conditions include not merely the necessary limitations of time and space under which the news is gathered and printed, but the even greater difficulties of translating to a vast and heterogeneous public precise and accurate details of events the import of which they are not prepared to comprehend.||”|
|— Notion attributed to Lucy Maynard Salmon, in a review of her 1923 book The Newspaper and the Historian.|
|“||...the newspaper has become a familiar source, although its legitimacy as such does not even yet pass unquestioned. The historian has found much to command in the use of periodical and even ephemeral literature in his study of the past, but during this period he has attached an ever-increasing importance to the reliability of the material he uses.....He recognizes the manifest usefulness that the newspaper might have, yet he hesitates to accept a form of material the authoritativeness of which has not been thoroughly established.||”|
|— Salmon, as quoted by Flora Belle Ludington in "The Newspapers of Oregon 1846-1870", The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, Vol. 26, No. 3 (September 1925).|
|“||The periodical press still remains the most important single source the historian has at his command for the reconstruction of the life of the past three centuries.||”|
|— Salmon, as quoted by Fred Morrow Fling in his review in Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 4 (December 1924).|
|“||The records of such important makers and chroniclers of history should be saved. Unfortunately that is not an easy thing to do. However much faith and hope may inspire the editor, he is not always careful of his files. The short-lived papers frequently vanish completely. Successors to the earlier publishers are often slow in recognizing that what had gone on before in the papers they had acquired was worth preserving for the sake of future needs of history. It is frequently difficult and often impossible to get information about the early files.||”|
|— Meany, Edmond S., "Newspapers of Washington Territory", in Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. 13 (1922).|