Thursday, May 5, 2011

WikiLeaks and New Journalism

Nadine Ajaka
WikiLeaks is an entity that has only recently been thrust into the public eye, but it has gained notoriety rapidly. “It has cracked open governments and corporations without apparent repercussions because it has no headquarters, no printing press…in that sense, WikiLeaks is of the internet.”

But what has WikiLeaks done for journalism? Is a more accurate question, what has WikiLeaks done to harm journalism. I think it has done much to change the face of journalism, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The readings stress that WikiLeaks has opened up a previously closed door to journalists, but WikiLeaks needs respected journalist, also. WikiLeaks has transformed news, but needs news organizations to gain credibility for their website. 

This lead to a bargain where WikiLeaks granted journalists information that the average public was not privy to, on the grounds that they kept it quiet until WikiLeaks published it on their site. As the article states: “In striking that bargain, those news organizations found themselves not as gatekeepers of information, but as guest with VIP access.” This image really struck me, because it is such a shift in how news organizations have been viewed in the past. Traditionally, it is news media that have been the gatekeepers for this information; however, as time has passed, they have become more reliant on sites like WikiLeaks to provide them with relevant, breaking news.

WikiLeaks has a storied past, although many Americans may not have even been familiar with the website prior to the hugely publicized leak in 2010. In 2008 and 2009, WikiLeaks catalyzed political outcry in Tunisia with their leaked cables.

WikiLeaks underwent massive criticism for their publication of thousands of classified documents. The Harvard Law and Policy Review published this article to analyze whether or not they violated the first amendment of the constitution—an interesting take on a popular debate.
WikiLeaks’ controversial founder Julian Assange spoke to 60 Minutes about the charges he faced after the massive leak:

It seems that no one has been held accountable, and WikiLeaks is still going strong. In fact, you can actually follow them on Twitter and get up to date information on what they are up to.

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