Wikipedia talk:Notability (journalists)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Before more people come to complain that I am doing this for Timothy Noah, let me clarify something. This is not a special exception fot Noah. I am using him mainly as an example. I really don't care much about Noah. I wouldn't have been angry if his article was deleted, just as I am not angry that it was kept. I did vote "weak keep" in his AfD, because I believe he is notable. However, from everything I have seen so far, he does not meet the criteria at WP:BIO. I voted to keep based on WP:IAR. However, IAR shouldn't have to be the reasoning behind keeping articles like Tim Noah's, thus, this proposal. Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 00:20, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

What is here now is just a rough draft, feel free to make any changes and note them on this talk page. This is in part related to some of the suggestions and problems raised during the AfD for Timothy Noah here.Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 00:13, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

These criteria are terrible[edit]

Writing for the AP apparently gets you a wikipedia entry? Can you name me a single person who writes for the AP?

Likewise, the Detroit Free Press? Any reporter for the Free Press can have a page? Again, absurd.

While I agree with Timothy Noah that it's a little bit ridiculous for WP to police notability, assuming we're aiming for encyclopedic notability, I would say a journalist needs to have national scope to be included, in whatever country they live in. That doesn't disqualify a writer for a major metro daily--they just have to be known across their industry, not just in their city. The late Mike Royko would be a good example of someone notable who wrote for one paper. But simply the ability to get a byline in say, the Arizona Republic--even a regular byline--assuming you do nothing else shouldn't qualify you for a WP entry. 00:27, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't know who most of the people are in Category:American journalists, but does that mean they should all be deleted, because I'm guessing many of them haven't been " the subject of multiple, non-trivial, published works from sources that are reliable and independent of the subject and of each other"
What would you suggest that would include writers like Timothy Noah but not less well known journalists? Would you include journalists like writers of "Time" cover stories? Why Timothy Noah? Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 00:46, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I've removed the newswire part and clarified the 3rd criteria to "senior staff writers or editor" This will not include minor staff writers, but only major contributors and editors. Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 01:15, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I would remove the term "editorial columnist." Surely famous sports columnists, arts and entertainment columnists, etc. should be noted. 23:45, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

If we differentiate between sources by the journalist and sources about the journalist by somebody else, the central criteria works fine. See for example Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Jeff Jacoby, where I found sources about him by other journalists. GRBerry 03:58, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Please, please, no more exceptions just because Noah decided to write that piece. Either a subject meets WP:N or not. If we keep carving a hole in the central criterion every time a "But it SHOULD be here!" comes up, we may as well not have it and just decide to turn AfD into a straight ILIKEIT/IDONTLIKEIT vote. If a subject doesn't have secondary source coverage, then no matter how much that sucks, no matter how much we'd like to write about it, it doesn't belong here. (Though, in Noah's case, I bet he's covered somewhere.) Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 12:03, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Okay, but the problem is, some notable people, like Noah, don't seem to meet the general criteria. 3 of the sources on his article are his articles, 1 is a 4 sentence bio from the Washington Monthly but this is not "independent of the subject", and 1 is an article about his wife's book, that mentions Noah once, Noah is not the subject and again, it is in Slate, so it is not independent of Noah. Many journalists that have their work read by hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of people per day don't seem to meet the general criteria. Journalists are different from authors and actors in that they don't usually have outside sources reviewing their work, except fot the occasional award. This isn't attempting to carve a hole in the general criteria, this is trying to fix a hole. Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 17:25, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Someone musta added in the Slate qualifications for Noah... sad loser who wants to get back at wikipedia 'cause he's not notable, but the point is, even the Slate mag page doesn't assert its real notability, other than it was created by MS in '96, then bought later. I'm removing that, because it sure as hell isn't a good qualification. Dåvid Fuchs (talk / frog blast the vent core!) 18:41, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't like carving out special exceptions per profession either. In Noah's case, someday he will pass away and multiple sources will run obituaries about him. Then he'll be notable. Using his plaint to carve out some exception to all the world's jounalists seems hasty. -- Kendrick7talk 20:53, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

  • So journalists are apparently only notable when they die? 23:42, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict) So we shouldn't have articles about otherwise notable people until after they die? This isn't so much a "special exception" for Noah as it is a way to fix a potential flaw in notability standards. That is, are people who are not quite famous but still widely known and considered notable by many people eligible for inclusion in Wikipedia? This isn't an exception for all journalists. They have to have achieved some level of notoriety in journalism circles or have risen to a high status in their field. This won't include writers for small papers like the Sparks Tribune in Nevada.Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 00:13, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
      • Anyone who had won a Pulitzer or made a unique contribution to their field is going have that noted by multiple WP:RSs and is going to be OK under WP:N anyway; that's just window dressing; I'm removing it. -- Kendrick7talk 01:01, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
        • Finally, someone that will actually help a little instead of just complaining. Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 22:16, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Objections to this as a guideline[edit]

Please add subsections to WP:BIO rather than creating a separate guideline for each and every imaginable profession. >Radiant< 12:59, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

  • There is no need for further instruction creep as it is questionable whether journalists represent a special case sufficient enough to require special guidelines. As Radiant says above, please keep it at WP:BIO. --Kevin Murray 20:04, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Where exactly on WP:BIO would this go? Special cases? Proposed alternative criteria? The talk page? We already have 9 special cases and 10 proposals (not counting this one). I don't see how journalists are less of a special case than pornographic actors. Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 22:14, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
      • Mr.Z-man, I couldn't agree with you more. Porno is a wart on a sore thumb, but since it has already slipped by, that is a battle for another day. Why don't we work together to evaluate what is unique about journalists and see how we can succinctly address it for potential inclusion at BIO? --Kevin Murray 22:23, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Well, the main thing that I have noticed is that journalists are different from authors and actors in that they don't usually have outside sources reviewing their work, except fot the occasional award. Print journalists write more than most authors and TV journalists are on TV more than many actors, but people don;t report about them. Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 22:29, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
      • I don't think that's true. Most actors aren't reviewed or sourced anywhere either; those would be the people in crowd scenes, the redshirt that dies in scene three, and other minor roles. The ones we hear about are the notable ones, that get their names on the film posters, and so forth. Likewise, we probably can't write an encyclopedic about some random journalist for a smalltown newspaper, but we do write about people who win a Pulitzer. If you're implying that print journalists are notable despite the fact that nobody much seems to care about them or report about them, I tend to disagree. >Radiant< 10:10, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
        • I'm not suggesting every journalist for every paper/TV station. Only editors, senior writers, etc. And, only major news sources. Regional-International, papers with 300,000+ avg weekday circulation. I just don't see how someone, whose work is read by hundreds of thousands of people per day (and that doesn't include online), isn't notable. If they aren't, we have a lot of deleting to do.
On a similar note, the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Notability/overview may just make this (and many other proposals) moot. Mr.Z-mantalk¢ 00:53, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No progress has been made since late February when it was proposed to be tagged as rejected. Per Wikipedia Policies and guidelines: "A rejected page is any proposal for which consensus support is not present, regardless of whether there's active discussion or not. Consensus need not be fully opposed; if consensus is neutral on the issue and unlikely to improve, the proposal is likewise rejected. Making small changes will not change this fact, nor will repetitive arguments. Generally it is wiser to rewrite a rejected proposal from scratch and start in a different direction." --Kevin Murray 23:26, 15 March 2007 (UTC)


I the draft it says under invalid criteria : Minor staff writer or columnist, does that mean Minor staff writer or minor columnist or are columnist not notable? AlfPhotoman 21:34, 27 February 2007 (UTC)


This guideline seems to be me to suffer from a serious vagueness in terms of "senior" and "minor". On the one hand, "The subject is a senior staff writer, editor, or columnist" leaves completely unexplained what "senior" actually means. By contrast, "Minor staff writer or minor columnist" is not to included. The obvious problem is that 90% of columnists and journalists probably fall between these two extremes, which means that the guideline actually fails its purpose of actually guiding editors as they think about inclusion vs. exclusion. semper fictilis 12:28, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Basically, what it is trying to say, is that senior staff writers, editors, or columnists are notable under this criteria. Everyone else has to meet the general criteria to be considered notable. The minor part is just as a guide to editors planning an article. If the person is a minor writer, they most likely are not notable. The other 90% may be notable, but they are notable for a reason other than that they are journalists. Mr.Z-mantalk¢Review! 16:28, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Looking for help[edit]

We have an AFD that has some issues with finding third-party input. I remember this proposal from the Timothy Noah AfD, and thought you might be able to help -- I don't know if you still have this on your watchlists or not. The contested article is here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Glenn Rubenstein. It's a former teenage video game journalist. I voted delete as I didn't think biographical details could be verified and if this journalist was included I think all would be, but please read the whole discussion and decide for yourselves. --JayHenry 15:58, 18 March 2007 (UTC)