Articles about items in the news are only considered encyclopedic if they are verifiably of significant lasting and historical interest and impact.
Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia which means that there is no practical limit to the number of topics we can cover or the total amount of content. However, it is also not an indiscriminate collection of information and it is not newspaper.
Many things are in the news and are reported by numerous reliable and verifiable sources that are independent of the subject, yet are not of historic or encyclopedic importance. News organizations have different criteria for their content than the criteria used by encyclopedias. A violent crime, sensationalized event or accidental death may be notable enough to reporters and news editors to justify coverage in the news, but not be of encyclopedic importance. But a crime that led to a significant change in the law, an event that actually became a sensation, or a death that led to new safety practices, may have long-term encyclopedic value, and could merit an article if sufficient secondary sources were available to establish its importance.
The guidelines for verifiability, notability and reliable sources, followed to the letter, would mean that any news event which was independently reported by multiple news reporting services on any given day could have a Wikipedia article, even if it were the most trivial coverage or sensationalistic story. Notability has no time value, so any story from any time in the past would be equally qualified. The standard guidelines, strictly interpreted and applied to their logical conclusion, lead to an absurd result.
Articles in relation to news events
Articles should not be about events that have strictly passing significance and interest. Events which only garner transitory attention do not merit encyclopedic articles, and may be better suited for news portals such as Wikinews. While it may be difficult to determine whether or not an article's subject will have long lasting significance, articles which clearly do not meet these criteria are likely subjects of only very short-lived usefulness to the readers, and therefore should be considered for either deletion or merger with an appropriate corresponding article on a broader subject (such as merging information about a one-shot news event involving a celebrity with the celebrity's main article). This should be done with due caution, however. Subjects which have already received significant coverage over a period of time, with follow-up stories exploring new information or story angles are demonstrably not of only one-time interest.
For those who wish to write about current events, including those which may not be appropriate for an encyclopedia, our sister project, Wikinews is specifically intended to cover current events, and also permits original reporting that is not allowed on Wikipedia. Allowing coverage of current events which are outside the scope of this project (a general-purpose encyclopedia) would be to the detriment of both Wikinews and Wikipedia. Each has its place, and article subjects that belong in one, do not necessarily belong in the other. If a subject is of dubious encyclopedic value now, it may be better to write about it at Wikinews first, adding sources there as the story develops. Then, if the sources support inclusion in an encyclopedia, a related Wikipedia article can be developed citing those sources (but excluding any original reporting). The two projects are not mutually exclusive, so a subject may appear in either one, or both, but the articles will be written differently, and must meet different standards, to comply with each project's separate goals.
- To add or contribute to news stories on Wikinews, visit Wikinews.org.
News items are generally considered notable (meriting an independent article) if they meet any of the following criteria:
- The subject of the news item has become the subject of secondary documentation or analysis independent of news services. This includes being the subject of books, documentaries or non-trivial academic study (i.e. excluding non-scientific surveys), or incorporation in an important public debate.
- The subject of the news item has set, or has caused to set, a precedent in some way. This includes new laws being passed, novel interpretations of existing law, first tests of new law, notable "first of its kind" achievements, new or increased safety legislation, causing a notable change in societal behaviour or norms, etc. (Predictions that it will set a precedent, however, are inappropriate attempts to predict the future).
- Note: Where a single news wire story or press release has been used by several news publications, this should only be counted as a single source in all notability discussions. Likewise, when reporters base their information off other news coverage (for example, "AP reported that ..."), the coverage is only a single source. Such derivative reports are not independent of each other and can not be used to verify each other. However, if multiple mainstream news outlets do independent reporting on a single event, this is independent coverage.
News items that do not meet the above criteria, but which involve a notable subject should be included in the article about the notable subject, if it can be put in appropriate context there. Where no one subject is an appropriate merge target for the content, it may be better to create a stand-alone article with additional material to appropriately contextualize the content.
- Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions#It's in the news
- Wikipedia:Notability (criminal acts)
- Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is Not#Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information #4:Not a collection of news reports
- Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a newspaper
- Wikipedia:Notability (events)