Based on a recent discussion on the Travellers' Pub, it seems that we could be doing a better job with the news on the Main Page. Personally, I've noticed the following things:
News isn't updated regularly, resulting in stale stuff on the Main Page.
Uneven coverage. Some news items on the Main Page are merely of local interest, while no-one sometimes gets around to adding news of world-wide interest.
Some news items added to the Main Page have obvious spelling and grammar errors. Not a huge problem, this is a Wiki so you just fix the problem, but it reflects a lack of collaborative editing before they make it to the Main Page.
It's harder to add news than it could be (Main Page and Travel news both need to be updated and kept in step).
My thought around setting up this expedition was to come up with strategies to help reduce these problems.
I think this could involve a multi-pronged approach, because different kinds of news can be developed differently. For example, fixed events such as the Super Bowl, Olympics, Presidential Inauguration, Summer Solstice, etc. are predictable, so collaborative editing of these news items would work well if they had a higher profile. On the other hand, events such as an airline going bankrupt aren't predictable, so the only way to respond is to be aware of them and add such items promptly.
I'd be interested to hear what issues others have about the news and their thoughts around how to make things better. I'll have more concrete thoughts of my own as well in the near future. Cheers, JYolkowski 22:39, 11 February 2009 (EST)
I think your idea of a multi-pronged approach to the news is an excellent one, but I'd like to take it a step further. What if we had general news that was planned well in advance, and then we had breaking (well, unpredictable) news separately? It just looks odd when we have stories about a ride at Disneyland closing right next to stories about a volcanic eruption which has ended travel in and out of a region. Now in order to do this and still fulfill the interest of conserving space on the Main Page, what if we just showed the headlines of the news stories on the Main Page, and not a full description? If people are really interested in the news stories, I'm sure they'll just click on the link for more details. And then we'll also have room for more than just three news stories on our Main Page, cause three really just doesn't seem to cut it. PerryPlanetTalk 13:19, 19 February 2009 (EST)
These are really good ideas. I think it would definitely be a good idea of having two different sections for these items, say a "Upcoming events" section (and I definitely think these should be upcoming events, not current events; from a travel perspective, there's not much point in covering, say, a Disneyland ride closing on the Main Page starting the day that it closes; it's too late for anyone to go there) and a "Breaking news" or "Travel alerts" (or whatever we want to call it) section with unpredictable news. In addition to allowing for a greater variety of news, only showing the headlines also goes a long way toward solving the problem of having to update Main Page and Travel news separately, so I really like that idea. Cheers, JYolkowski 18:41, 19 February 2009 (EST)
If anyone are using an RSS reader or aggregator, I'd encourage you to sign up for the US State departments Travel warnings and alerts feeds, which can be found here and also the Australian version. Unfortunantly the British FCO doesn't seem to be providing such feeds. If we are more users signed up, it will increase the chances of catching new alerts, and relaying them on the front page.
If anyone can come up with other feeds that would be useful for us to watch, please come forward. --Stefan (sertmann)Talk 10:56, 21 February 2009 (EST)
Proposed redesign for Travel News on Main Page
Based on the discussion above, I've created a proposal for a revamp of the "Travel News" section on the Main Page; see Wikitravel:News Expedition/Travel news proposal. I thought I'd propose it here first and see if there's any interest in this and iron out any problems here before making this higher-profile. If you have any comments or suggestions, please discuss here or just go ahead and edit the proposal itself. Cheers, JYolkowski 21:41, 5 March 2009 (EST)
I love it! There's lots of stories, and yet the box is still much smaller than the current one on the Main Page! One question: what is the maximum number of stories we should allow in this box? I'm figuring there is a limit where we don't want the box to get too big. PerryPlanetTalk 01:30, 6 March 2009 (EST)
Hey, I think this is a definite improvement. Looks nice. Will our magic 9-per-section rule work here or is that going to be too many? Texugo 02:16, 6 March 2009 (EST)
Thanks. I would think that a maximum of 9 would probably work (as long as 9 is an absolute maximum). I would imagine that there'll be a lot less than 9 travel alerts at one time anyway. JYolkowski 18:30, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Jup, looks very nice
Cool, seems like there's general agreement that this is better than before. I'll propose this on Talk:Main Page shortly. Cheers, JYolkowski 19:08, 13 March 2009 (EDT)
Looks good to me! And sharing the template will indeed make updating so much easier. Jpatokal 11:52, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Just a thought. Would probably need to edit the "newsitem" template to add this, but I don't think having a couple more photos would be too bad (look at the number of photos on Wikipedia). Comments? AHeneen 02:29, 15 March 2009 (EDT)
It looks like a small photo could be entered directly into the text field of the newsitem template. 75px is about right, maybe 100 at the most. LtPowers 11:59, 15 March 2009 (EDT)
To note -- the image must use the |right or |left parameters in order for the text to wrap properly. And I would suggest no more than one image at a time -- not one per news item. LtPowers 07:49, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
Just a reminder to everyone to please help with updating the news. You don't even have to read lots of stories, simply spending a few minutes browsing headlines...you can spot ones which might affect travelers. You should read the news to begin with...it will give you a better understanding of the world and consequently better understand where you travel. Just spend 5-10 minutes browsing some news websites and then 5-10 min. adding some stories to Travel News (copy the new items before saving, then paste them to the main page). My favorites are: BBC News, France24, & Fox News. A few others that you might want to check out are: Reuters, CNN, Al Jazeera, & RIA Novosti. —The preceding comment was added by AHeneen (talk • contribs) .