Online distributed and networked voluntary journalism, across all media, is attracting attention as an alternative news service - offering situated, active, learning opportunities for emerging journalists. The internationally oriented journalism site Wikinews is positioned to offer high-quality learning in newswriting; while emphasizing ethics, reliability and therefore accuracy. Wikinews also offers opportunities for supported production and learning in the converged media context for original investigative journalism across the print, audio and visual formats.
This paper reviews the assignment processes in two 2011 undergraduate subjects in journalism, where Wikinews was used for publishing and assessment. Wikinews was effective for improving student engagement, motivation, quality and reflection, which greatly assisted assessment and moderation. Students were observed engaging in and reflecting on the real-world problems and issues of the profession, with several reporting their higher levels of motivation and understanding. This culminated not only in the publishing of international news stories, but also saw to improvements in writing care and quality, drawing from the open source peer review and the publishing processes of Wikinews.