|While this essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline itself, it is intended to supplement the Wikipedia:Notability guideline, to which editors should defer in case of inconsistency between that page and this one.|
|Notability of media topics in a nutshell:|
Within Wikipedia, notability is an inclusion criterion based on the encyclopedic suitability of an article topic. The topic of an article should be notable, or "worthy of notice". This concept is distinct from "fame", "importance", or "popularity", although these may positively correlate with notability.
This notability essay for media topics is not policy; however, it reflects consensus reached through discussions and reinforced by established practice, and informs decisions on whether an article on a topic should be written, merged, deleted or further developed.
The following is a tool to help determine whether a media outlet is a valid subject for a Wikipedia article. The scope of this guideline covers all forms of "traditional media" - including newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. Websites are determined by the WP:WEB guideline.
Simply stated, a media outlet is an organization formed to make some form of communication with a wider audience. This is often in the form of news and/or entertainment and may or may not be done for a profit.
Notable means "worthy of being noted" or "attracting notice." It is not synonymous with "fame" or "importance." Please consider notable and demonstrable effects on culture, society, entertainment, athletics, economies, history, literature, science, or education. Large outlets are likely to have more readily available verifiable information from reliable sources that provide evidence of notability; however, smaller ones can be notable, just as individuals can be notable, and arbitrary standards should not be used to create a bias favoring larger organizations, nor should they be used to provide blanket permissions for all articles about a certain subject.
A media outlet is presumed notable if it has been the subject of coverage in secondary sources. Such sources must be reliable, and independent of the subject. The depth of coverage of the subject by the source must be considered. If the depth of coverage is not substantial, then multiple independent sources should be cited to establish notability. Trivial or incidental coverage of a subject by secondary sources is not sufficient to establish notability. Once notability is established, primary sources may be used to add content. Ultimately, and most importantly, all content must be verifiable.
The "secondary sources" in the criterion include reliable published works in all forms, such as (for example) newspaper articles, books, television documentaries, and published reports by consumer watchdog organizations except for the following:
- Press releases; autobiographies; advertising for the outlet; and other works where the outlet talks about itself—whether published by the company itself, or re-printed by other people. Self-published material or published at the direction of the subject of the article would be a primary source and falls under a different policy.
- Works carrying merely trivial coverage; such as (for examples) the publications of telephone numbers, addresses, and directions in business directories, short listings in a national database.
Other methods of presuming notability for media related topics are listed below.
Special note: advertising and promotion
Advertising is prohibited as an official Wikipedia policy of long standing. Advertising should be removed by following these steps, in order of precedence:
- Clean up per Wikipedia:neutral point of view
- Remove any remaining advertising content from the article
- If no notable content remains, consider nominating the article for deletion by listing it at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. However, if an article consists entirely of blatant promotional material, with no other useful content, it may be tagged for speedy deletion instead.
Why a separate guideline
Many of the reliable sources used on Wikipedia come from the media, especially about current companies. However, the media does not often report on itself. It is not often that one media outlet will give neutral attention to another, as this could be seen as "advertising for the competition." Also, when searching for sources on media outlets, the results are often pages produced by the outlet, making it difficult to find significant coverage in multiple sources.
The following guidelines have been developed by a consensus of wikipedians and are considered standards to use when considering the notability of media related topics. Failure to meet these criteria is not conclusive proof that a topic should not be included; conversely, meeting one or more does not guarantee that a topic should be included.
Newspapers, magazines and journals
- have produced award winning work
- have served some sort of historic purpose or have a significant history
- are considered by reliable sources to be authoritative in their subject area
- are frequently cited by other reliable sources
- are significant publications in ethnic and other non-trivial niche markets
Publications that primarily carry advertising, and only have trivial content, may have relevant details merged to an article on their publisher (if notable).
- The book has been the subject  of multiple, non-trivial published works whose sources are independent of the book itself, with at least some of these works serving a general audience. This includes published works in all forms, such as newspaper articles, other books, television documentaries and reviews. Some of these works should contain sufficient critical commentary to allow the article to grow past a simple plot summary.
- The immediately preceding criterion excludes media re-prints of press releases, flap copy, or other publications where the author, its publisher, agent, or other self-interested parties advertise or speak about the book.
- The book has won a major literary award.
- The book has been made or adapted with attribution into a motion picture that was released into multiple commercial theaters, or was aired on a nationally televised network or cable station in any country.
- The book is the subject of instruction at multiple grade schools, high schools, universities or post-graduate programs in any particular country.
- The book's author is so historically significant that any of his or her written works may be considered notable, even in the absence of secondary sources.
- The film is widely distributed and has received full length reviews by two or more nationally known critics.
- The film is historically notable, as evidenced by one or more of the following:
- Publication of at least two non-trivial articles, at least five years after the film's initial release.
- The film was deemed notable by a broad survey of film critics, academics, or movie professionals, when such a poll was conducted at least five years after the film's release.
- The film was given a commercial re-release, or screened in a festival, at least five years after initial release.
- The film was featured as part of a documentary, program, or retrospective on the history of cinema.
- The film has received a major award for excellence in some aspect of filmmaking.
- The film was selected for preservation in a national archive.
- The film is "taught" as a subject at an accredited university or college with a notable film program.
Notability may be presumed for a radio and television broadcast station if it verifiably meets through reliable sources, one or more of a variety of factors, such as importance to and history in the station's market, as well as the uniqueness of the programming. A brief explanation of the broadcast market may be needed in the guideline for editors to make informed decisions.
- Television stations - The vast majority of over-the-air television stations serve a large regional market, often covering millions of households. The regulatory authorities, such as the FCC in the United States, grant each station a monopoly on a substantial portion of radio spectrum to carry their programming, and most metro areas only have a dozen or so television channels. In turn, the TV stations must devote certain hours to public affairs and educational programming, and grant equal time to political candidates. Because of the public interest served, most television stations that produce original content should be presumed notable for Wikipedia purposes.
- Radio stations - There are considerably more radio stations in existence than television stations, some with large audiences and some with small. However, radio stations tend to have long histories and while the owners and formats change, the stations generally stay put. Notability can be established by either a large audience, established broadcast history, or unique programming. Local affiliates of notable networks are themselves presumed notable unless they are translator stations (see below). For instance, even a 10-watt station belonging to a high school may be notable, if it's in a fight to keep the grandfathered Class D license with which it's been broadcasting for thirty years. On the other hand, licensed Travelers' Information Stations are generally not presumed notable, but might redirect to an article about the highway, park or tourist facility they cover, or about the company that operates them if that company meets WP:CORP. Editors might consider creating a table listing the radio stations in an area which might be redirected to rather than creating dozens of stub articles.
- Translator stations - There do exist radio and television transmitters that do little more than rebroadcast another signal. Note these are not "network affiliates", but simply facilities that repeat another station. This is often done, for instance, to extend coverage in rural areas. In general this sort of station does not merit its own article on Wikipedia, but rather a redirect to the originating station. The term "translator" can have different meanings in different countries; for the purposes of this guideline, a translator is deemed to be a station that is fully dedicated to rebroadcasting the content of another station, and produces no local programming. A translator may, however, be independently notable under certain circumstances — for example, if it was previously an originating station but became a repeater of a larger station later on.
- Subcarriers - Services carried over the same bandwidth as the broadcast signal, such as closed-caption news tickers, SAP audio programs, or digital radio and television subchannels, generally do not merit separate articles and should be covered in the station's main article. The service itself, such as This TV or Antenna TV, generally is presumed notable. Also, a TV station that simulcasts its signal on one channel in analog and one channel in digital should be covered by a single article.
- Sister stations - It's up to the editors' judgement or a community consensus whether "sister" radio and TV stations under the same branding should be merged to single articles.
- Unlicensed stations - Stations that do not require a license to operate, such as some "carrier current" stations limited to the boundaries of a college campus are not presumed notable, but could be covered in an article about the school. Pirate broadcasters, while not presumed notable, can have notability conferred on them by meeting WP:CORP standards.
- Cable television - Generally, national or regional cable channels are presumed notable. Public access cable stations are not presumed notable unless they serve a major city or a large regional area. For example, a statewide public access channel, or a channel for all of New York City could be presumed notable. A "governmental access" feed that runs a text generator of community events plus city council meetings for a population of 50,000 is not generally presumed notable, but can be conferred notability by meeting the standards set forth in WP:CORP.
- Cable and satellite radio - Generally, individual "channels" carried by cable or subscription satellite radio are not presumed notable, as they can be added and dropped at will by the service provider. However, the service as a whole is most likely notable, and individual channels can be notable if they meet the primary criterion of having received independent media coverage.
Generally, an individual radio or television program is likely to be notable if it airs on a network of radio or television stations (either national or regional in scope), or on a cable television network with a national audience. It is far less likely to be notable if it airs in only one local media market.
In either case, however, the presence or absence of reliable sources is more definitive than the geographic range of the program's audience alone. For instance, a purely local talk radio program can be notable enough for inclusion if it played a role in exposing a major political scandal, and a national television program may not be notable if it was cancelled too quickly to have garnered any significant media coverage.
A television or radio station's article should not contain a comprehensive listing of the station's entire broadcast schedule. A network's article may contain basic schedule information for major programming blocks (such as the core prime time schedule of a national television network), but as Wikipedia is not an electronic program guide, this schedule should not be updated every week with specials or temporary programming changes. Only major changes, such as a program's cancellation or a permanent time slot change, should be reflected in the network's article. Content that describes a station's programming in greater depth is permitted, as long as it is properly sourced and consists of more than just a list of the hosts' names.
Lists of a particular type of media outlet (e.g. "List of radio stations in X", "List of newspapers in Y") should exist only at the country or first-order divisional (state, province, etc.) level. Individual cities or extended media markets are permitted "Media in (City)" lists which have subsections for radio, television and print media in that particular city, but should not have separate lists for each individual type of media.
For example, a separate "List of radio stations in Louisville, Kentucky" should not be created, but Media in Louisville, Kentucky, combining local radio, television and newspaper lists into a single article, is valid.
The channel lineup of a national service, such as a direct broadcast satellite company which offers the same channel lineup in all areas it serves, may be valid content. However, do not create articles listing an individual cable company's channel lineup in a local market.
Subcategories by geographical division may be created where appropriate (e.g. Category:Radio stations in Oregon, Category:Television stations in Ontario). Where such categories are used, create a comprehensive set for all appropriate divisions, regardless of the number of stations in any individual state or province, and then use the state/province categories instead of the country category. Such categories may also be further subdivided by city or market where numbers warrant; however, at the city level it is not mandatory to diffuse all stations out of the state/province category. That is, Category:Radio stations in Oregon may include subcategories for major radio markets, but does not require subcategories for small towns which only have one local radio station.
Subcategories by genre, network or ownership group may also be created (e.g. Category:College radio stations in the United States, Category:CTV Television Network stations). However, do not combine geographical and non-geographical subcategories — for instance, do not create third-level subcategories for "College radio stations in Oregon" or "CTV network stations in Ontario".
Media outlets that are not notable should be merged into lists based on location or format. The list can include all verifiable information about each outlet. If/when an outlet becomes notable enough for its own article, its entry in the list should be reduced to only the most basic information, with a link to the article.
Student media, such as over-the-air college radio stations and student newspapers, should not be presumed non-notable just because they primarily serve a university or college student population, but are to be judged by the same inclusion standards as any other media outlet. A student newspaper or radio station which is deemed non-notable should always be redirected to the college or university that it serves.
- Self-promotion and product placement are not the routes to having an encyclopaedia article. The published works must be someone else writing about the outlet. (See Wikipedia:Autobiography for the verifiability and neutrality problems that affect material where the subject of the article itself is the source of the material.) A primary test of notability is whether people independent of the subject itself have actually considered the outlet notable enough that they have written and published non-trivial works that focus upon it.
- The "subject" of a work means non-trivial treatment and excludes mere mention of the book, its author or of its publication, price listings and other nonsubstantive detail treatment.
- "Non-trivial" excludes personal websites, blogs, bulletin boards, Usenet posts, wikis and other media that are not themselves reliable. An analysis of the manner of treatment is crucial as well; Slashdot.org for example is reliable, but postings to that site by members of the public on a subject do not share the site's imprimatur. Be careful to check that the author, publisher, agent, vendor. etc. of a particular book are in no way interested in any third party source.
- Independent does not mean independent of the publishing industry, but only refers to those actually involved with the particular book.
- Self-promotion and product placement are not the routes to having an encyclopedia article. The published works must be someone else writing about the book. (See Wikipedia:Autobiography for the verifiability and neutrality problems that affect material where the subject of the article itself is the source of the material). The barometer of notability is whether people independent of the subject itself (or of its author, publisher, vendor or agent) have actually considered the book notable enough that they have written and published non-trivial works that focus upon it.
- This criterion does not include textbooks or reference books written specifically for study in educational programs, but only independent works deemed sufficiently significant to be the subject of study themselves, such as major works in philosophy, literature, or science.
- For example, a person whose life or works is a subject of common classroom study.
- Examples would include the Sight and Sound Poll, AFI's_100_Years..._100_Movies, Time Out Centenary of Cinema, 1999 Village Voice Critics Poll, Positif's poll, etc.
- This criterion is secondary. Most films that satisfy this criterion already satisfy the first criterion. However, this criterion ensures that our coverage of such content will be complete. Standards have not yet been established to define a major award, but it's not to be doubted that an Academy Award, or Palme D'or, Camera D'or, or Grand Prix from Cannes would certainly be included. Many major festivals such as Venice or Berlin should be expected fit our standard as well.
- See The United States National Film Registry for one example. Any nation with a comparable archive would equally meet our standards.