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Simple Ways to Write a Wikipedia Article

Last Updated: January 11, 2024 Fact Checked

Proposing a Draft

Writing an article, choosing a topic, using wikipedia standards.

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Darlene Antonelli, MA . Darlene Antonelli is a Technology Writer and Editor for wikiHow. Darlene has experience teaching college courses, writing technology-related articles, and working hands-on in the technology field. She earned an MA in Writing from Rowan University in 2012 and wrote her thesis on online communities and the personalities curated in such communities. There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 622,837 times. Learn more...

This wikiHow will teach you how to write and publish an article on Wikipedia. Anyone can create a Wikipedia page, but it's important to follow their writing guidelines and choose topics that fit their standards. Your topic should be "notable" (a subject covered elsewhere in reasonable detail), and your article should be verifiable with authoritative sources. Once you've decided what you want to write, we've got you covered! The steps below will walk you through the whole process.

Things You Should Know

  • Before creating a new article, check to see if an article about that topic already exists.
  • If you don't want to commit to writing an entire article, you can submit an article proposal as a draft.
  • To write a new article from scratch, you'll need to create and confirm a Wikipedia account.

Step 1 Launch the Wikipedia Article Wizard.

  • The Articles for Creation page contains useful information about submitting proposed articles as a non-autoconfirmed user, including things you should keep in mind when choosing a topic and how your article will be reviewed.
  • While not required, it can be helpful to read over this information before clicking through to the Article Wizard.

Step 2 Read through Wikipedia’s Article Wizard to get to the article draft page.

  • The first page of the Article Wizard asks you if you want to go to the next page or use the Wikipedia Sandbox to practice editing and writing articles. Click Next to go to the next page.
  • The second page in the Article Wizard briefly covers Wikipedia’s copyright, notability, and referencing guidelines. Click Next to go to the next page.
  • The third page of the Article Wizard details a few of the most common mistakes that Wikipedia contributors make. You can then click I’m not connected to the subject Draft Creation page. Or, click I’m writing about something close to me or I’m paid to edit to create a discloser at the top of your article that explains your relationship with the article. [3] X Research source

Step 3 Enter the name of your article draft and click Create new article draft.

  • If you need help writing your article, you can live chat with a Wikipedia help channel representative at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:IRC_help_disclaimer .

Step 5 Click Publish page to submit your article for review.

  • As long as your article remains in the drafting area, you can edit it as needed.
  • Draft articles that aren’t published or further edited for six months will usually be deleted from the drafting area.
  • If your article is declined, you can still edit it. Once you feel like you’ve edited it enough and that it’s ready for resubmission, you can request a re-review by adding {{subst:submit}} at the beginning of your draft.

Step 1 Register an account with Wikipedia.

  • If you make an edit that is later deleted, this will still count towards your total number of edits. [7] X Research source

Step 3 Get autoconfirmed status after four days.

  • When you’re directed to your unpublished user page, you’ll see an empty text box above the Publish page button. This space allows you to write something about your Wikipedia user page. Writing in this box will not create an article.

Step 5 Create your first article.

  • Before writing your first article, read through Wikipedia’s article creation and writing guidelines to help ensure that your article gets published. To read through Wikipedia’s article guidelines, visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Your_first_article .
  • See this method for tips on choosing your first article topic.

Step 6 Type your article into the blank.

  • Writing a Wikipedia article isn't as simple as typing plain text into a box. Familiarize yourself with Wikipedia's Manual of Style and Markup syntax to ensure your article is formatted correctly before submitting.

Step 7 Click Show Preview to check your work.

  • If your article does not contain proper formatting or violates any of Wikipedia's rules, it may be deleted immediately. Don't save the page until you are sure the finished work is suitable for publishing.

Step 1 Do a search to see if the article you want to write already exists.

  • There are, however, several general and subject-specific notability regulations for Wikipedia articles, many of which are determined by experienced editors after your article is submitted. [14] X Research source
  • If you can find several reliable, independent sources that cover your topic, it will likely be considered notable enough for a Wikipedia article.

Step 3 Make sure that your article doesn’t violate copyright law or plagiarize.

  • Writing an article about yourself or your company is strongly discouraged, as this is considered a conflict of interest. [17] X Research source

Step 5 Write a requested article if you don’t have your own topic.

  • In addition, try to keep your article to 50,000 characters of text or less. Articles that exceed this length generally need to be split into smaller articles to keep them easily readable. [20] X Research source
  • Using headings to organize your article is particularly important because your headings are then shown in the table of contents that appears at the beginning to help readers navigate your article.

Step 2 Stick to Wikipedia’s typical styles when you decide what to include.

  • The key feature of both summary-style and pyramid style articles used in most Wikipedia articles is a lead section at the beginning that summarizes the article and provides an overview of the most important information.

Step 3 Keep the tone of your article formal and impersonal.

  • To help keep your tone formal, avoid using slang, colloquialisms, doublespeak, or jargon in your article.

Step 4 Use wikitext to create the formatting elements in your article.

  • For example, to bold a word or phrase in your article, surround the word or phrase with three apostrophes.
  • To create a heading, for example, add 2 ‘=’ signs before and after the heading title. For a subheading, include 3 ‘=’ signs before and after the subheading title.

Step 5 Include accurate references so readers can verify the information.

  • In some cases, the reliability and accuracy of a resource is subjective. In such cases, it may be helpful for you to do an internet search on the resource itself to better grasp how reliable people tend to believe it is.
  • Fact-checking your information will also ensure that your references are sound and that you are providing the best information possible. [24] X Research source

Step 6 Proofread your article to ensure your spelling and grammar are sound.

  • It may be helpful for you to copy and paste your article into a word processor so you can run it through a spelling and grammar check before submitting it. Be aware, however, that your word processor will likely read wiki text as incorrect.

Community Q&A

Hello903hello

  • Don't forget to leave reliable sources. Users can nominate to delete articles they suspect contain "original research" (information you made up; cannot be verified by reliable sources). If an administrator or bureaucrat agrees with them, they will delete the article. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Be sure to familiarize yourself with Wikipedia's policies. For example, if you did correctly cite the sources, another user may still nominate to delete it, but if you're very familiar with Wikipedia's policies increases your chances of winning any dispute from users who may come across as hostile toward you. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Write a New Article on wikiHow

  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_creation
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Article_wizard
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Article_wizard/HowToDisclose
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Your_first_article
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Why_create_an_account%3F&gettingStartedReturn=true
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:User_access_levels#Autoconfirmed_and_confirmed_users
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Drafts#Creating_and_editing_drafts
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:How_to_create_a_page
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Editing
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Size_comparisons
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Autobiography
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requested_articles
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Writing_better_articles
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Writing_better_articles#Structure_of_the_article
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Writing_better_articles#Information_style_and_tone
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Tutorial/Citing_sources
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Writing_better_articles#Check_your_facts
  • ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Writing_better_articles#Pay_attention_to_spelling

About This Article

Darlene Antonelli, MA

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Citation Needed! A Guide to Writing and Editing on Wikipedia

  • Editing an Existing Wikipedia Article
  • Creating a New Wikipedia Article
  • Women's History Month
  • Need More Help?

The Process

  • Create your account and practice editing. Try to make 10 edits before you get started on your assignment. Information on account creation can be found on the ENL 3895 section of this guide.
  • Make sure your article doesn't already exist! Search for it on Wikipedia. If it does exist, you can simply edit the existing article.
  • Use the Article Wizard to start creating your new article. This will help you create a draft space for your article. Make sure to bookmark it and share with your group. Multiple people can edit the same draft, so only one person in your group needs to create the draft.
  • Write! Check out the links in the Helpful Resources box if you need some more guidance.
  • Hit the blue "Publish page..." button when you're done! This will allow the page to either be published, or be sent for review by other Wikipedia editors. Consider saving a copy of your article somewhere to ensure you have an extra copy of it. The 'download as PDF' link on the left is great for doing just that.

how to create a new article on wikipedia

Helpful Resources

  • Manual of Style From Wikipedia. "The MoS presents Wikipedia's house style, to help editors write articles with consistent and precise language, layout, and formatting, making Wikipedia easier and more intuitive for users. Plain English works best. Avoid ambiguity, jargon, and vague or unnecessarily complex wording."
  • Your First Wikipedia Article Everything you need to know about writing and creating your first Wikipedia article.
  • Article Development The process by which articles turn from short 'stubs' into useful, longer articles.
  • Examples of Good Articles Language and literature articles that are considered 'good articles' by Wikipedia. These can serve as good examples of what your finished article should look like.
  • << Previous: Editing an Existing Wikipedia Article
  • Next: ENL 3895 >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 17, 2023 3:01 PM
  • URL: https://belmont.libguides.com/wiki
  • International

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Trump civil fraud trial ruling

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Trump Georgia case hearing

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What we know

Alexey Navalny's death

Hearings on Trump's criminal cases in New York and Georgia

By Kara Scannell , Lauren del Valle , Jeremy Herb , Zachary Cohen , Jason Morris, Nick Valencia , Kristina Sgueglia, Dan Berman , Tori B. Powell and Matt Meyer , CNN

Here are key takeaways from Fani Willis' stunning testimony

From CNN's Marshall Cohen, Devan Cole, Holmes Lybrand and Katelyn Polantz

The Georgia election subversion case against  Donald Trump and 14 of his allies took a stunning turn Thursday when two top prosecutors testified under oath about their romantic relationship at a hearing triggered by allegations of self-dealing that have the potential to derail the entire effort.

The all-day hearing escalated steadily throughout the day, culminating with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis taking the witness stand for a combative brawl with defense attorneys that drew several rebukes from the judge.

These are key takeaways:

  • Willis' defiant afternoon: Things quickly went off the rails. Willis didn’t act much like a traditional witness on the stand and was more like a prosecutor, arguing with the defense attorneys, raising objections, making legal arguments and even having exchanges with Judge Scott McAfee . She even raised her voice at one point. This led to a few rebukes from McAfee. Willis repeatedly accused some of the defense attorneys of peddling lies – before and after the judge’s admonishment.
  • Willis says she's not on trial: Willis seized several opportunities to defend herself. “You think I’m on trial,” Willis said, in her sharpest pushback of the day. “These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020,” she added, pointing toward the table of attorneys representing defendants in the criminal case. “I’m not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial.” She later slammed the defense attorneys, calling them “confused” and “intrusive.”
  • When did the relationship start? On the stand, prosecutor Nathan Wade stuck to his earlier claim – in a sworn affidavit submitted to the court – that his romantic relationship with Willis began in early 2022 and that they split travel and vacation expenses. But Robin Bryant-Yeartie, a former friend of Willis and Fulton County employee, contradicted that claim , testifying that she had “no doubt” that the Willis-Wade affair began in late 2019. Notably, that would be before Willis hired Wade to lead the Trump probe in late 2021.
  • Wade and Willis describe using cash for reimbursements: Wade and Willis have offered a simple explanation for why there’s essentially no paper trail to back up his claims they split expenses: Willis used cash .
  • When did the relationship end? There was also a dispute over when the relationship ended, and whether it had any impact on the decision to seek the massive RICO indictment against Trump and others last August. Both said the relationship ended in summer 2023. Willis implied that the physical component ended earlier in the summer, but that the two had a “tough conversation” that fully ended things afterward.
  • Huge distraction from Trump's charges: Nothing that happened Thursday undercut the factual allegations against Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, or the other GOP allies who are accused of trying to overturn the 2020 election. But the hearing shifted the conversation away from those allegation and away from Trump’s legal woes for now.

Trump reacts to Willis' testimony in Georgia

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday reacted to c and her lead prosecutor on the 2020 election case, Nathan Wade.

“FANI NEVER PAID CASH. SHE GOT FREE TRIPS AND OTHER THINGS FROM HER LOVER, WITH THE EXORBITANT AMOUNTS OF MONEY SHE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID TO HIM. A GIANT SCAM. WITCH HUNT!!!”  Trump posted  on Truth Social. 

Wade and Willis pushed back against allegations from the defense that Willis was essentially getting kickbacks from Wade in the form of vacations. They said they split expenses and that Willis reimbursed Wade in cash for certain things.

Georgia judge says no ruling will be issued tomorrow in case over whether to dismiss Willis

From CNN’s Holmes Lybrand

Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee looks on during a hearing at the Fulton County Courthouse on Thursday, February 15, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee said he would not issue any rulings Friday after the evidentiary hearing on efforts to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis from the Georgia election subversion case. 

“I’m not ruling on any of this tomorrow,” McAfee said in closing the hearing Thursday. “This is something that’s going to be taken under advisement on all aspects.”  

McAfee also raised the possibility of scheduling final arguments from the parties at a later date. 

“My goal, my hope is perhaps we can just close the evidence tomorrow, and we can take it from there,” McAfee said.

Willis woke up "ready to testify," bishop who prayed with her before court says

From CNN's Nick Valencia and Devon Sayers

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis woke up Thursday morning "ready to testify," according to the African Methodist Episcopal bishop who says he prayed with her before today’s hearing.

Bishop Reginald Jackson told CNN he met with Willis earlier this morning before court began to "offer her words of encouragement," and they prayed together.

"She seemed comfortable. She seemed eager to address," Jackson said.  "I had the feeling this morning that she was ready for this. It's been going on for over a month, these efforts to destroy her reputation,” he added. “She wanted to meet it head on.” 

When the bishop spoke to Willis this morning before court, he said he told Willis "to keep praying and that the people have her back. I really believe they do."

Hearing ends for the day and Willis will continue testimony Friday 

From CNN's Holmes Lybrand and Dan Berman

The first day of an evidentiary hearing over whether to dismiss Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the Georgia election subversion case has concluded after Willis and her top prosecutor, Nathan Wade, testified over their relationships and payments they made during vacations together.

The district attorney's testimony will continue Friday at 9 a.m. ET, with Willis starting with under cross examination from District Attorney lawyer Anna Cross.

Defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who is leading the removal effort, said she plans to call two more witnesses after that.  

Cross also said she had three to four witnesses to call tomorrow, which she estimated would take four to five hours.

Willis: "I'm not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial"

From CNN's Devan Cole

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case on Thursday in Atlanta.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis pushed back forcefully on Thursday as she engaged in a tense back and forth with a defense attorney seeking to disqualify her from the 2020 election interference case she’s brought against Donald Trump and others.

“You've been intrusive into people's personal lives. You're confused,” she told Ashleigh Merchant, an attorney for defendant Mike Roman.

“You think I'm on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020,” she added, pointing toward the table of attorneys representing defendants in the criminal case.

Willis says Wade made sexist remarks during relationship

From CNN’s Devan Cole and Marshall Cohen

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case on Thursday in Atlanta.

In an extraordinary moment in court Thursday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testified about sexist behavior from Nathan Wade, the top prosecutor on the election interference case with whom she once had a romantic relationship.

“It's interesting that we're here about this money. Mr. Wade is used to women that, as he told me one time: 'The only thing a woman can do for him is make him a sandwich,'” she testified as she faced tough questioning from defense attorney Steve Sadow, who represents Donald Trump, about whether their romantic relationship ended last summer because of the forthcoming indictment against the former president and his allies. 

“We would have brutal arguments about the fact that I am your equal," she continued. "I don't need anything from a man — a man is not a plan. A man is a companion. And so there was tension always in our relationship, which is why I would give him his money back. I don't need anybody to foot my bills. The only man who's ever foot my bills completely is my daddy.” 

The defense attorneys have zeroed in on the timing of when the Willis-Wade relationship ended because it's critical to their self-dealing allegations against Willis.

In court filings, defendant Mike Roman's team argued that Willis would be incentivized to bring an indictment because it would prolong the case, and keep the money flowing to Wade. And, according to their theory, back to her as well, through vacations and other gifts.

Willis said on the stand that their break-up had “absolutely nothing” to do with the indictment.

Fulton County judge admonishes parties to remain professional

Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee looks on during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on February 15, in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee admonished parties in court on Thursday after heated exchanges between District Attorney Fani Willis and the defense attorney trying to get her removed from the Georgia election subversion case. 

“We all know what professionalism looks like,” McAfee said. “We won’t talk over each other. And from there, we’ll get through this.”

The judge took a brief break during Willis’ testimony after she raised her voice in court, holding up several motions filed by defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant and declaring: “It is a lie.” 

Merchant was asking if the top prosecutor she hired to investigate Trump had ever visited Willis “at the place you lay your head?”

“So let’s be clear because you’ve lied in this,” Willis said, pointing to copies she held of the filings. Willis, continuing to point at the copies, added, “right here, I think you lied right here.”

Willis details trips she took with top prosecutor in Trump case

District Attorney Fani Willis detailed vacations and trips she took with prosecutor Nathan Wade, who she hired to investigate Donald Trump and others for election interference in Georgia, saying she would pay cash for everything.

“When I travel I always pay cash,” Willis said of the trips with Wade, saying that she paid Wade back for certain travel and excursions during the trips.

Willis has been accused of financially benefitting from hiring Wade, who defense attorneys say paid for vacations for the two. The vacations, according to Willis, included trips to Aruba, the Bahamas Belize as well as Napa Valley where they attended wine tastings.

“He likes wine, I don’t really like wine to be honest with you,” Willis said. “I like Grey Goose.” 

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Who Was Alexei Navalny and What Did He Say of Russia, Putin and Death?

Reuters

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny pays respect to founder of Russia's oldest human rights group and Sakharov Prize winner Lyudmila Alexeyeva in Moscow, Russia December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

By Guy Faulconbridge

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Alexei Navalny, Russia's most prominent opposition leader, died on Friday after collapsing and losing consciousness at the penal colony north of the Arctic Circle where he was serving a long jail term, the Russian prison service said.

OPPOSITION LEADER

Navalny, 47, became the leading figure among Russia's splintered opposition.

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BAKHMUT REGION, UKRAINE - NOVEMBER 3: The Ukrainian military fires RPGs at enemy positions as the special military unit "Kurt & Company group" hold the first line of the frontline Russian-Ukrainian war on November 3, 2023 in Bakhmut District, Ukraine, the frontline of the Russian Ukrainian war. Ukrainian forces continue to fight to retake Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces in May, following a yearlong war battle. Over the summer, Ukraine regained territory north and south of Bakhmut but Russia has held the city itself. (Photo by Kostya Liberov/Libkos/Getty Images)

Supporters cast him as a Russian version of South Africa's Nelson Mandela who would one day be freed from jail to lead the country.

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He earned admiration from many in Russian opposition circles for voluntarily returning to Russia in 2021 from Germany, where he underwent treatment for what Western laboratory tests showed was an attempt to poison him with a nerve agent in Siberia. 

RISE TO PROMINENCE

A former lawyer, Navalny rose to prominence with blogs which exposed what he said was vast corruption across the Russian elite, describing Russia as ruled by "crooks and thieves".

He participated in Russian nationalist marches in the 2000s. Calls for restrictions on immigration and criticism over what some viewed as his overly nationalist views prompted his expulsion from the liberal Yabloko opposition party in 2007.

He lampooned President Vladimir Putin's elite and exposed some of the opulence of the lifestyles of senior officials, using the internet and even drones to illustrate what he described as their vast holdings and luxury property.

When demonstrations against Putin flared in December 2011, after an election tainted by fraud accusations, he was one of the first protest leaders arrested.

Navalny long forecast Russia could face seismic political turmoil, including revolution, because he said Putin had built a brittle system of personal rule reliant on sycophancy and corruption.

WHAT DOES THE KREMLIN SAY?

The Kremlin said Putin had been informed of his death.

The Kremlin dismissed Navalny's allegations of vast corruption and Putin's personal wealth. Navalny's movement is outlawed and most of his senior allies have fled Russia and now live in Europe.

Russian officials cast Navalny as an extremist who was a puppet of the U.S. CIA intelligence agency which they say is intent on trying to sow the seeds of revolution to weaken Russia and make it a client state of the West.

Navalny was detained countless times for organising public rallies, and prosecuted repeatedly on charges including corruption, embezzlement and fraud. He said the accusations and convictions were politically motivated.

Navalny had an extra 19 years in a maximum security penal colony added to his jail term in 2023 in a criminal case that he said was designed to cow the Russian people into political submission.

In August 2020, Navalny fell ill on a flight from Tomsk, in Siberia, to Moscow. The pilot made an emergency landing, saving his life, and Navalny was flown to Berlin, where he was treated for the effects of a neurotoxin that German military tests showed to be Novichok, a poison developed in the Soviet Union.

Putin dismissed a joint media investigation that said it had identified a team of assassins from Russia's FSB security service. "If someone had wanted to poison him, they would have finished him off," he said.

Navalny's wife is Yulia. Their daughter is called Darya, and their son is called Zakhar.

KEY NAVALNY QUOTES:

ON THE UKRAINE WAR:

"This is a stupid war which your Putin started," Navalny told an appeal court in Moscow via video link from a corrective penal colony in 2022. "This war was built on lies."

"One madman has got his claws into Ukraine and I do not know what he wants to do with it - this crazy thief."

"Corruption is the foundation of contemporary Russia, it is the foundation of Mr Putin’s political power," Navalny told Reuters in an interview in 2011.

"Once the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy described the structure of power in Russia: 'the villains who robbed their own people got together, recruited soldiers and judges to guard their orgy, and now they're having a feast'. This brilliant phrase precisely describes what is happing in our country."

In 2023, he admonished the Russian elite for its venality, expressing hatred for those who he said squandered a historic opportunity to reform after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

He dissected Russia's post-Soviet history, including the legacies of the most powerful figures of the 1990s who became known as the reformers who sought to lay the foundations of capitalism and the oligarchs who won fabulous fortunes.

"I can’t stop myself from fiercely, wildly hating those who sold, pissed away, and squandered the historical chance that our country had in the early nineties," Navalny said.

ON FEAR AND AMBITION:

"Why should I be afraid?" he said in 2011 when asked about the dangers of challenging the Kremlin. 

When asked by Reuters about his ambition, he winced but said: "I would like to be president, but there are no elections in Russia."

"If they decide to kill me then it means we are incredibly strong and we need to use that power and not give up," he once told CNN. "We don't realise how strong we actually are."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters .

Join the Conversation

Tags: Russia , Europe

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Super Bowl Broadcast Is a Crossroads for CBS Sports

The storied network is facing a wave of change, including new leadership, the possible sale of its parent company and the continued challenge of streaming.

A person standing behind a blue CBS N.F.L. banner, pointing a large broadcast video camera at a football field.

By John Koblin and Kevin Draper

John Koblin reported from New York, and Kevin Draper from Las Vegas.

On the one hand, Sunday will be a joyous occasion for CBS Sports. The sports division will broadcast its 22nd Super Bowl, the most of any network. The game is guaranteed to be the most-watched event in television this year, and it will generate hundreds of millions in advertising revenue and provide a huge promotional platform for CBS and its parent company, Paramount.

On the other hand, there’s everything else.

The storied CBS Sports division, the broadcasting home of marquee events like the Masters and March Madness, is confronting a wave of change. Its longtime chairman, Sean McManus, is departing in April. The division has lost the rights to one of its signature properties, Southeastern Conference college football games. Deep-pocketed tech giants are getting aggressive about live sports programming, with companies like Amazon (N.F.L. football on Thursday nights) and Netflix ( W.W.E. wrestling ) entering the field. And Paramount is widely considered an acquisition target, with a number of suitors circling the company.

It all leaves CBS Sports facing a number of challenges — which company leaders say they can handle by sticking to what they know.

“No matter what happens in the future to the company, sports will increasingly be more important each and every year,” Mr. McManus said.

CBS Sports has long been one of the elite players in American broadcasting. Its understated coverage, narrated over the decades by broadcast booth legends like Pat Summerall, John Madden, Verne Lundquist and Jim Nantz, has stood in stark contrast to rowdier competitors like ESPN and Fox. CBS has televised golf’s Masters tournament with limited commercial interruption and stately hushed tones going back to the 1950s.

And CBS has plenty of major sporting events in its foreseeable future. The network’s N.F.L. rights are locked up through 2033, for about $2 billion a year. The rights to the men’s college basketball tournament are tied up for another eight years, for around $750 million a year. And many PGA Tour events are signed through 2030 for hundreds of millions annually.

That’s because even as traditional television ratings are plummeting and more people migrate to streaming, live sporting events still thrive on broadcast networks. Recent N.F.L. playoff games on CBS set ratings records.

“No matter how many changes are taking place, or are on the horizon, football on broadcast television, and especially the N.F.L., is the one entity that exists above and beyond all that,” said Bob Costas, the sports broadcasting eminence.

Even if the network sports divisions have to make adjustments, “not much of it has to do with the N.F.L.,” Mr. Costas said. “All they have to do is keep ponying up the money for the rights.”

Still, nearly every media company is confronting soaring sports rights fees while trying to juggle challenges. Those include cord cutting, diminishing advertising revenue and streaming businesses that are bleeding cash. Three companies — Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox — announced on Tuesday that they would jointly begin a new sports streaming service this year, to better control their fate in a changing world. Paramount, however, will not be part of that service.

Like other media companies, Paramount, which also owns cable networks like Nickelodeon and MTV, has been hurt by cable television’s decline. According to financial filings , Paramount has committed to more than $30 billion in future payments, the vast majority for sports rights. That is more than what the stock market says Paramount is worth. The company’s streaming service, Paramount+, lost hundreds of millions of dollars last year, and several analysts are skeptical whether it will even exist in its present form in a few years.

A number of suitors — including Skydance and Warner Bros. Discovery — have expressed interest in Paramount’s media business.

Over the last 18 months, a number of senior executives have departed the company . Mr. McManus, the leader of the sports division for 27 years, will be replaced by a longtime lieutenant, David Berson, after his retirement in April.

Both men described the transition as smooth (CBS’s president, George Cheeks, referred to it as “a master class in succession planning”), and emphasized that the division would stick with what it did best: acquiring desirable sports rights, and producing strong broadcasts.

“The relationships that we have with these various leagues are deep and storied, and there’s a tremendous comfort level and trust factor there that we will put on the best presentation,” Mr. Berson said.

Yet CBS has faced some challenges even on that front. For more than two decades, CBS aired SEC college football games on Saturdays, regularly a top-rated event. CBS had been paying $55 million a year for the rights.

But this year, ESPN will take over the broadcasts of SEC games, paying $300 million a year to do so. To make up for the loss, CBS acquired the rights for Big Ten games, but for a steeper price (around $350 million a year) and for a league that has been weaker overall in recent years, though it has added several prominent sports-rich universities from the West Coast.

“I think there’s a good chance that there’s going to be enormous growth in the Big Ten, both on the field and in the television universe,” Mr. McManus said.

Mr. Berson underscored the division’s ability to innovate with sports productions. He pointed to the fact that the Super Bowl would be simulcast on Nickelodeon in a broadcast tailored to children and families.

“We really do believe that it’s cultivating a next generation of fans and doing it in a really fun way that is additive to the audience,” he said.

Though CBS has locked up major deals into the early 2030s, tech companies like Amazon, Netflix and Apple have begun their march into streaming live sporting events. Amazon now streams “Thursday Night Football,” Netflix has picked up the rights to W.W.E.’s weekly flagship “Raw” broadcast for $5 billion over the next 10 years, and Apple bought the rights to show Major League Soccer around the world. A longtime rival, NBC Sports, also recently successfully streamed an N.F.L. playoff game on Peacock.

It all adds up to a vastly changing sports media landscape.

“They may indeed be competitors in the future,” Mr. McManus said of the tech companies. “Our deals are, generally speaking, throughout this decade, if not longer. We’ll look at them and do our research. And if they become competitors, so far we’ve been successful in keeping the properties we wanted to.

“So, you know, tough to predict the future, but I feel good about our position.”

John Koblin covers the television industry. He is the co-author of “It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO.” More about John Koblin

Kevin Draper writes about money, power and influence in sports, focusing on a range of topics, including workplace harassment and discrimination, sexual misconduct and doping. He can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected] . More about Kevin Draper

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