I’m not sure we all fully grasped the power of anonymity on the web until Wikileaks happened. Sure, anonymity has always been one of the lures of the internet. You can be anyone you want to be and talk to anyone you want, without that person knowing the real you. But who knew the veil of internet anonymity could spawn something like Wikileaks?
Wikileaks reminded us of the power of information because it showed us how much of a difference piece of information can make. For example, take the video of a Baghdad Airstrike Wikileaks posted. The video did not shine a positive light on the US military. Because of that video, people began to ask questions and hold the military accountable. The video showed an injustice and Wikileaks brought it to light. That information would probably still be under wraps if it weren’t for Wikileaks.
Wikileaks has changed the way journalists do their job. The site is a new source for journalists, but like a lot of information in this age, it doesn’t come without ethical qualms. Should journalists report the information in some of the cables because it’s public information and people deserve to know? Or should journalists stay away from the website because of how the information was acquired?
Wikileaks has shown the importance of investigative journalism, something most journalists must do to get to the bottom of some of the information in the cables.
Perhaps most notably, what hasn’t changed in journalism since the advent of Wikileaks or even the advent of the internet is that…well, we still need journalists. Those diplomatic cables don’t mean much to the average person – we still need a journalist to dig and find the story within the information.
Wikileaks is controversial but I think the idea is here to stay, here to remain a reality in the daily life of a 2.0 journalist. Even if the current version of Wikileaks is shut down, how long will it take before another site pops up? You can’t stop the flow of information.