Oh, Julian …

Posted: April 5, 2011 by Hilary Paige Smith in #8 Wikileaks

There is something undeniably romantic about WikiLeaks. On the surface, it seems like there is this vigilante deliverer of justice, uncovering the wrongs in government. Deeper, it seems it’s all politics.

Julian Assange, founder and essentially Editor-in-Chief of WikiLeaks (if it can be classified as news), has been the subject of a flurry of media attention. It seems not only his activities online, but his personal life have come under scrutiny. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Assange. He has this rebellious streak, this desire to uncover wrongdoings and this is something all journalists are drawn to. But he also plays this other, darker role, of someone who may be looking for fame, and just looking to push buttons.

WikiLeaks has been a great source of information for the public, but I find even the information shared by WikiLeaks plays second fiddle to the drama of WikiLeaks and Assange on their own. The Collateral Murder video footage itself recieved less media attention than WikiLeaks did releasing it. It seems almost absurd that this is what we as both journalists and consumers are concerned with and place our news value in.

WikiLeaks itself has changed the way we see news and certainly adds an element of suspicion and drama. I think journalists like the idea of exposing the government in this way. It also keeps them free of the consequences associated with exposing a huge story. With huge news, comes huge controversy, as well as both good and bad feedback.

I think the only thing WikiLeaks has really changed is a desire to get more information out in the open. Whether or not journalists take this as their opportunity to start digging up information for themselves remains to be seen.

This is an example of journalism based purely on the drama and mystique surrounding Assange, there are many like this. http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2036683_2037118_2037146,00.html

This is an example of media reactions to the Collateral Murder video footage. Even this story doesn’t really focus on any investigation into the incident detailed in the video.


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