Talk:Alan Johnston

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Former good article nominee Alan Johnston was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
May 14, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed



According to the BBC World Service, he's been released...

Article has now been updated, thanks! Chacor 01:15, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

According to BBC News 24 Alan is being taken by Hamas to meet the PM.

The PM? Not likely he is in Palestine, SqueakBox 01:40, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Remember, please: "This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Alan Johnston article. This is not a forum for general discussion about the article's subject." Chacor 01:50, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I'm pretty sure he is being taken to meet the PM. The PM of the Hamas led government of course Nil Einne 07:13, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

gunmen? how about "terroist hijakers"? Nah, can't have it in our doublespeak world.

Hijackers? Nil Einne 07:14, 4 July 2007 (UTC)


The image of him is not very good, the images within the article are better

The old image we used is no longer applicable under fair-use. And since the other images in the article under fair-use are meant to describe the sections they're currently in I'm hesitant to make them the main image. Thoughts? Chacor 01:29, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, looking at it the button banner might be usable in the infobox. Chacor 01:39, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

It really needs a new picture. A picture of where he works is no where NEAR up to what should be our standards. Siddonie 07:19, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

A fair use image in the infobox would violate our policies, as a free image could reasonably be found or created, now that he has been released. J Milburn 11:25, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
If we can find one that would be great but an infobox of a bio needs a pic of the subject or no pic at all, a poic of a BBC building is not acceptable in the info box, SqueakBox 00:16, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Separate article on kidnapping needed[edit]

I'm very happy to hear he has been released. However, this article is supposed to be about the man's life and his work but instead is almost completely about his kidnapping. Once things settle down, I suggest that the ==Kidnapping== section to be spun into its own article at Kidnapping of Alan Johnston and a several paragraph summary of the event left here under a ==Kidnapping and release== section (per WP:SUMMARY). More focus should then be directed to the other parts of his life and work. --mav 03:32, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, Olaf Wiig and Steve Centanni articles aren't much about them, either, although granted the bit about Johnston's kidnapping is 'large', to say the least. Chacor 03:43, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
This article was created on March 16th 2007. Its existence on Wikipedia is due to his kidnapping, not his "life and work". If Johnston wasn't considered notable in his own right before the kidnapping then I don't see why he should be now.Dino246 06:11, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Alan Johnston is IMHO clearly noteable due to his life work. Just because an article was not yet created, doesn't mean he was not noteable. It is fairly common, especially for non-Americans, that noteable but not extremely noteable people have articles created for them after some big event they were involved in. (Similarly, several of the victims of the Vtech shooting spree had articles created for them after the event, only those who were otherwise noteable were preserved.) In this case, the lead says it all, he was the only Western journalist permanently based on Gaza which in itself is probably ground for noteablity (this isn't the only thing that makes him noteable but it's sufficient). If he were not noteable due to his life work, but only his kidnapping then this article should be renamed to Alan Johnston kidnapping or something similar. We should not have articles about non-noteable people. As it stands, the article needs to be expanding to include more on Alan Johnston. After that, if the kidnapping section is still too large it can be spun off. Nil Einne 07:01, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I would support splitting this into separate articles. He is a notable journalist, as he has won numerous awards for his work. The kidnapping section would be better suited to a new article, as it is very detailed and perhaps slightly too large for an article that should focus on his work. Dave101talk  07:04, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
In the coming days, a big refactoring is necessary to improve the article. At the moment it is a big data dump with poor narrative. Great that he got released though. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Given his intention to "return to obscurity" I think we should move the article to something like Kidnapping of Alan Johnston, SqueakBox 17:41, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps, I still think a bio article is merited though even if it's fairly short Nil Einne 19:20, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure whether a new article is needed or not, but either way, the content of the 'Kidnapping' section really needs to be cut down and/or rewritten, as to have that much detail in an article with a comparatively small biography section is ridiculous. --Mark (Talk) 19:40, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Only ridiculous in a bio but not in an article on the kidnapping, SqueakBox 19:46, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree with you...that's pretty much what I meant even if I said it badly. Cheers, Mark (Talk) 16:07, 5 July 2007 (UTC).

One thing that people have to be very careful when splitting is the references. Refs will end up being broken if it's just a copy-and-paste split. I was going to split it myself earlier until I thought about the refs. Probably still best to wait for everything to die down before splitting though. Chacor 11:55, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Wait for the article to stabilise in a few weeks and then plan carefully how to edit it down into an encyclopaedia entry rather than the soap opera episode review that it is at the moment. I'm still not convinced that stripped of the kidnapping, Johnston's bio is any more notable than hundreds of other journalists who don't have Wikipedia articles about them. Dino246 12:32, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
We could just change the article name and make the majority of the article about the kidnapping, and less about his personal history. Paulthemime 15:58, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Johnston clearly is notable enough (meets WP:N) without the kidnapping, given the awards he's won for his work, so a biographical article on him existing is still preferred. Chacor 16:03, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Strong support for the new article. The article didnt exist till he was kidnapped so re BLP concerns we should now move the entire article to a kidnap article, otherwise we could remove the bulk of the article and afd the biop if there is strong opposition to redirecting it to a new kidnap article, SqueakBox 00:15, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

This article is entitled "Alan Johnston" and does not explain only the kidnapping. However, it is ridiculous to split the article when it's better to stay on one page. If the article gets too long, I will agree to it. --AOL Alex 00:31, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

On second thought, it IS too long. Let's go with the splitting. --AOL Alex 00:32, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
I actually oppose splitting, its renaming that we should do. We should respect Alan's wishes to return to obscurity and not burden him with a wikipedia biography, SqueakBox 00:34, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

There's absolutely no precedent for splitting this article. Terry Waite was held hostage for 4 years and his kidnapping is quite adequately summed up in his bio page. The same is true of journalist John McCarthy (5 years), writer Brian Keenan (5 years), actress Patty Hearst, and diplomat Jürgen_Chrobog, to name just a few. That Johnston's was the first significant kidnapping to get 'live coverage' on Wikipedia from hundreds of well-meaning supporters does not mean that the vast article should be kept once the dust settles. This kidnapping should be described in the same brief, considered, after-the-event, encyclopaedic way that all others are. Dino246 06:21, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Not true. The main article should have a summary. Anything else is to be split. To say that there is no precedent is ridiculous. See also Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Chacor 06:27, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Those articles were created before WP:BLP was significantly changed. They cannot be compared with this one. MartinDK 08:06, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. Where is Madeleine's bio page? Clearly she is not notable enough in her own right to have a bio page that isn't about the kidnapping but none of the notable people I mentioned above do either. One person, one article. His 4 months in captivity are simply part of his bio. If it's too long it should be cut, not split. John McCarthy's article manages to sum up his journalistic career and 5 years in captivity in a page you barely need to scroll down. Why is Johnston any more notable? Dino246 06:41, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
The awards Johnston won would serve to give him notability outside the kidnapping, so a stand-alone Johnston article can work. One subject does not necessarily have to have only one article; we can have Alan Johnston and Kidnapping of Alan Johnston and have enough sources and material for both. Check out WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS, as well, as the second part of your argument seems to resemble that. --Coredesat 07:03, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
As WP:BLP says cover the event not the person so a split would be the ideal solution. I see nothing wrong with keeping an article on a notable award-winning reporter in addition to Kidnapping of Alan Johnston. MartinDK 08:00, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
About the other kidnaping victims, I have no idea if there are more details about their kidnappings that we have missed and should ideally have seperate kidnapping articles for them eventually; or simply due to the time period etc there are few details about their kidnappings so there will never be a seperate article. What I do know is that this specific kidnapping has quite a few details as currently in this article. Some areas can be trimmed, e.g. the execution probably doesn't have to be as long as it is now. However even when trimmed, given the numerous things that happened there is always going to be too many details for this biography article. Therefore a seperate article will be needed Nil Einne 20:30, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
There should be an article about Alan Johnston's life and work, and an article about the kidnapping (which is liable to change currently) as it is still a current event that people will read separately. Once it becomes old news, the kidnapping article can be trimmed to an overview, and then added to the Alan Johnston main entry as part of the events in his life. Gavin 12:16, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
That's not how we work, we don't split and merge according to current events, we split and merge based on amount of content. Chacor 12:39, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

ARTICLE HAS BEEN SPLIT. Chacor 13:04, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Not a single source for this article existed pre-March 12th 2007. I understand the emotion people now feel for Johnston but I still maintain that stripped of the kidnapping he does not pass Wikipedia's notability requirements for a journalist. If we can't find significant non-BBC sources to describe his career that pre-date the kidnapping then we should merge this bio into the Kidnapping of Alan Johnston Dino246 21:42, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

He is an award winning journalist. It does not matter when the awards were won, or who covered it, as long as the sources meet WP:RS. He meets our notability guidelines. Get over it, it's not going to be merged. Chacor 01:16, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
By his own admission he was an "obscure" journalist before being made famous by his kidnapping. This is backed up by the fact that no one has found any reference to him anywhere from before the kidnapping that was not written by himself or his employer. This brief bio of a non-notable journalist should be merged with the article on his kidnapping, the only context in which the information has a place in an encyclopaedia. Dino246 06:56, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
Erm, he is notable, as he has won awards. Please see WP:BIO. --Coredesat 07:52, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but prior to being kidnapped Johnston's only award was a 3rd place radio award. According to WP:BIO he is not notable, other than as a kidnapping victim. There are no pre-kidnapping secondary sources, no independent biographies, no significant recognized awards or honors.. As a Creative Professional he passes none of the guidelines for journalists. He is undeniably famous, but as a kidnapping victim, and there is no justification according to Wikipedia's notability guidelines for him to have an entry as a notable journalist. Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia and editors need to be objective. I feel that people are letting their emotions override their judgement. Johnston's bio belongs as a section of the article on his kidnapping, not as an independent article. Unless this article gets backed up by pre-March 2007 sources, then it fails Wikipedia's notability policy. Dino246 08:52, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
Which part of "it does not matter when the awards were won" do you not understand? He's won awards since his kidnapping that would make him notable otherwise aside from the kidnapping. He's notable. Get over it. Chacor 13:35, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Edit of lead[edit]

Please disregard my edit summary. I see that the material is sourced but it makes it seem like he was kidnapped because he was the only reporter there and that doesn't really make sense. Thanks, --Tom 22:17, 8 August 2007 (UTC)