In Conversation with Jimmy Wales

 

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has another innovative venture up his sleeve: WikiTRIBUNE, a planned news website that brings together professional journalists and citizen journalists to help fight fake news online.

He joined Anthony Julius in conversation at The Academy in June 2017 to discuss this upcoming project as well share some stories of Wikipedia’s origins and how the community works in practice today.

Mishcon Academy:

In Conversation with Jimmy Wales
Founder of Wikipedia

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

Lawyers are engaged in combatting falsehoods in the name of the superior truth but we can’t do it alone, in fact we play a subsidiary role to the reliable news outlets and Jimmy Wales, extraordinary figure in our time, has contributed to those reliable outlets with his own, very innovative, journalism.

Jimmy Wales

The role of Wikipedia is to be neutral, high quality, neutral information.  You want to be able to understand all the different sides of something so that you can come to your own decision.

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

Fake news is a problem as old as time.  Fake news with capital initial letters is a problem of perhaps two or three years vintage.

Jimmy Wales

So, I am working on a project called WikiTRIBUNE.  I have been very dismayed over the past few years at what I have seen happening with journalism and thought, there is something here to do with bringing in the kind of high quality community Wikipedia has and professional journalists working side-by-side, to really kind of generate something new.

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

Lawyers, as the last liberals in the room, have a role in fighting for truth.

Jimmy Wales

Neutrality is incredibly important.  High quality is incredibly important and genuine community involvement is really important here because, I think, otherwise we are not doing something new.

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

We will use it, we would like, at some point, to contribute to it, and we certainly welcome it.

Jimmy Wales

When we think about WikiTRIBUNE and what kind of news will we publish, well, I’ve got my own ideas, I’ve got the principles which I won’t be flexible about.  In terms of, is it about politics, is it about this, is it about that, I’m a little agnostic, it’s whatever people find interesting.  The next several weeks we are going to launch and do our first forays into reporting the news.

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

The Mishcon Academy has to do more than just help produce the best technical lawyers, it has to make a contribution to the broader polity and assist that fraction of the electorate that we employ or work with in arriving at a maturer understanding of political and communal life than is available elsewhere.

We seem to have done this extraordinary thing which is to create something which is utterly new, but at the same time, draws on pre-industrial revolution values and I wonder whether that combination of the kind of 18th century in the 21st century is something that is characteristically, I mean at its best, American?  That sense of being, so to speak, a frontier community but with the world as your frontier.

Jimmy Wales

That sounds cool to me.

Anthony Julius
Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya

Well obviously this is the place to end.