Archive for the ‘#8 Wikileaks’ Category

Julian Assange knows what you did…and so do I.

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #8 Wikileaks

As soon as I knew Wikileaks existed, it made me question certain aspects of journalism. Is it okay to widely publish information from anonymous sources? Or, how about publishing “secret” documents submitted by whistleblowers? Are these things covered by the journalistic requirement to inform based on what’s necessary and important to the public’s well-being?

I view Wikileaks as sort of a grey area in journalistic ethics. While personally I believe a platform like Wikileaks’ is important to maintain a certain level of transparency in government and society, I can see the ethical problems involved and they have me undecided. I guess like many things it could be circumstantial – these ethical problems could limit the publication of some documents based on the issues surrounding the acquirement of the information.



The Wikileaks Project: Where Does it Stand?

Posted: April 18, 2011 by Maria Acle in #8 Wikileaks

It is truly amazing what a small group of people, a web site and access to sensitive information can do in such a short period of time. The information age has reached new heights placing the media into the hands of skilful rebels that can overturn a government with only a click. Julian Assange and his group of internet radicals expose government activities shedding light on what happens behind closed doors.

What is most scary is that such confidential information can disseminate so fast and can be accessed by millions of people so easily. Wikileaks opened our eyes to the fact that the web IS powerful. It makes us feel vulnerable just by knowing that so much information can reach big audience in the blink of an eye. (more…)

Greed vs. Caution

Posted: April 11, 2011 by Alyssa Mosher in #8 Wikileaks


I’ve never really thought a lot about Wikileaks until this semester.

It wasn’t until a few of my classes starting focusing on the “phenomenon” that I finally somewhat caught up. To be honest, I never followed the stories when they were first released a few years back. I had a friend who read every story, but he’s a journalism-nut, so I figured it wasn’t necessarily anything I had to look at. But I think that’s something I regret now.

Now, when everyone talks about the calibre of stories that were produced by Julian Assange and Wikileaks, I still feel like I have to catch-up. I’ve gone to the Wikileaks website and haven’t been able to navigate it very well, so finding one of those great stories hasn’t been easy. It was only a few months ago that I saw “Collateral Murder” for the first time. I couldn’t believe how many people had been keeping up with Wikileaks. Turns out it wasn’t just my journalism-nut of a friend.


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.,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.

When You Can’t Win, Change The Game

Posted: April 1, 2011 by Adam Hodnett in #8 Wikileaks

His egomania is annoying. But I like this point.

I’m supporting transparency as a matter of principle. I truly believe that we can operate honestly. I may be naive, but I think we can be upfront about our intentions. I think trades can be mutually beneficial and trustworthiness can be the biggest key to success. And for those who disagree–I’m just happy Wikileaks has come in to the picture. (more…)

WikiLeaks Wonders

Posted: March 16, 2011 by Mike Carter in #8 Wikileaks

Criminal organization or whistle blowing evolution? What does WikiLeaks mean for journalists in the information age? Some would rather say it is a threat to national security, while others would say it’s a new spin on an old idea where news media and the public need “people to leak and people to dig and people to consume and explain, and people who care enough to find the documents and bring them to light,” according to Mike Sager of the Esquire, Rolling Stone and The Washington Post.

Regardless of where data comes from it always needs someone to organize and explain it, to tell its stories. That is where journalists come in.


Street Justice for Journalists

Posted: March 16, 2011 by shanefowler2 in #8 Wikileaks

The big deal about wikileaks is that it is not that big a deal, not in the public’s mind, at least not anymore. The biggest information leak concerning government behavior since the Pentagon papers and it has already slipped to the back burner. Granted, there is only so much available interest. Wikileaks really does have to compete in the news right now. Earthquakes, middle-east uprisings every second week, and (more…)

Wikileaks Without A Sieve

Posted: March 16, 2011 by braillebone in #5 Not for Profit, #8 Wikileaks

.When Wikileaks is examined at the barest level, my opinion is that it has significant value. Simplistically, it serves the exact same purpose as investigative journalism: to publicize wrong and questionable behaviour and information by disabling its secrecy.

Its heart seems to be in the right place, although this is disputed for good reason. Critics speculate Wikileaks leader Julian Assange operated with a specific agenda, one that catered to more left-leaning people and politicians, attacking those with right of centre biases. The article I cited from The Independent, an online blog publication for independent journalists, says Assange undoubtedly operated with an end in mind, but also never claimed he didn’t, so it shouldn’t be such a shock.

This is precisely the reason Wikileaks cannot be called journalism; there is no sieve with which to sort through the overwhelming information, and thus it is much more difficult to draw any informed conclusions. What hasn’t changed is that it would never be proper practice to print or broadcast raw material without first putting it in context for news ingestion. Journalism’s raison d’etre is to sift through that raw material, balance it with other supplemental information explaining it, and in theory does not, by principle, have any sway or bias.

The change has come from the mass amounts of extremely sensitive information dumped on both journalists AND the public, like the 90,000 military documents on Afghanistan. This Reporter’s Roundtable video looks at the issues journalists faced with only having three weeks to sift through the information, making tough decisions under the watchful eye of the public; at this point, everyone was especially aware of Wikileaks.

Perhaps the role of the journalist has become increasingly demanding and significant because of what is now expected of them. Leaks of information are meaningful and necessary as sings the famous William Randolph Hearst quote: “News is something somebody doesn’t want printed; all else is advertising.” So, it is unarguably news. Assange seems to be the secret-sharing vigilante in the realm of journalism, but accredited journalists must now add taming sources like him in order to remain conscious of the possible consequences of failing to put his leaked information in context, and also included masking the identity of those named in the documents such as Afghani people who have been killed as a result of Wikileaks.

There are negative consequences to this sort of Pandora’s Box. It may not be fair to place the burden of decoding mass leaks courtesy of Julian Assange and his people on journalists, especially with tight deadlines, but there really seems to be no other viable option for churning out accurate and comprehensive news.

Thoughts on Wikileaks

Posted: March 16, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in #8 Wikileaks

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. (more…)

What’s new Wikileaks?

Posted: March 16, 2011 by Elizabeth Sullivan in #8 Wikileaks

The project I’m currently working on in my Free Speech and the Free Press class semester is on Net Neutrality… at least it started out as Net Neutrality. But the whole notion of literally treating everything on the Internet as equal has grown in an unwieldy direction towards economic implications, focusing at specific points of theoretical concern involved with free speech. The issue is primarily based on the premise that there is somehow a way of managing the Internet – but there are certain principles that would have to exist in order for the Internet to function as a reliable pathway for information to flow. Wikileaks found a country willing to uphold the principals of Net Neutrality, and before Julian Assange was charged with sexual assault the website had managed to rally general support for the value of information.

As Wikileaks gains notoriety and infamy, there is a faction of Americans – and probably a few other world citizens who are hell bent on bringing Julian Assange to justice; for what he’s done to tarnish the names of people who’ve been accused of doing what they apparently do on a regular basis.

The power of information did that.

The way that Wikileaks gained notoriety has been through Internet, but most notably through the Journalists who follow the stories and facts from the leaks that the Wikileaks team serves. The journalist still hasn’t found his place in the information age, but the role they’ve served regarding Wikileaks was crucial to the documents reaching a broad audience.

There is little to be said of change in this sense. The Journalists have provided the service that they’ve always provided, but somehow they also took some blame and backlash from the same people who are choosing to oppose what Assange is doing. I think this also served as a dividing action between what good journalism does, and what politically motivated journalism does. When anchors on Fox News can publicly cry for blood, one has to consider what it is that they’re valuing. The good Journalists tells people what’s going on in their country and around the world, if they didn’t issues like Watergate would have never surfaced – allowing a government to operate in terms of self interest instead of for the general well being of a nation.

Whoever access information on Wikileaks is able to judge the content as they wish. If they are viewing it based on another’s recommendation, then they are likely viewing it to either discount or verify the beliefs of the one who recommended it to them. What Journalists have done is place a tentative step into Net Neutrality’s realm, by continuing the chain of information, and broadening access to Wikipedia as a resource. These journalists who mined Wikileaks in cooperation with the organisation have placed value on providing information as a service.

Published accounts of news organisations who’ve been taking part in the dispersal of Wikileaks information have threatened the relationship that was foraged between the two parties. If they loose confidence in that decision, they loose confidence in the journalistic principle of providing their readers with information.

** please forgive the lack of sources. It’s 3a.m. and I’m still writing my Case Study. Wish me Luck Internets.

Wikileaks – Melissa Dickinson

Posted: March 16, 2011 by melissadickinson in #8 Wikileaks

Before discussing the nature of Wikileaks in class, I was easily persuaded that Julian Assange’s website was detrimental to our society. Maybe that’s not the right way to describe it. I believe I was under the impression that some things are better left unsaid and behind closed doors. However, by gaining a better understanding of Assange’s goal in publishing these “private” documents, anyones prior opinion can be quickly changed.

By publishing the controversial video footage of American soldiers shooting at and killing innocent Iraqi civilians, even the most supportive people of the war in Iraq can quickly decide that the war is a terrible idea. This is only one example of a leaked document changing the opinions of many. It is reported that there are over 90,000 leaked documents on the war in Afghanistan. In addition there are thousands of leaked documents on Iraqi war initiatives. This is only concerning one or two large topics. There are numbers upon numbers of leaked documents concerning a wide range of topics. It’s a world of information open to the public and to journalists to be used at their own discretion.

I took a few minutes and logged on to the Wikileaks page and began to sift though the enormous piles of information and documents. And that’s just what it is. Sifting. There is a world of information at the hands of journalists, but it would take hours of tedious sifting in order to find the information that pertains to your topic. In some instances, this information is worth digging for. But I wonder if there is a simpler way to get the information required. Interviews, debates and conferences have always worked in the past for journalists. However, the people you are approaching are not obligated to give you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So, that’s where Wikileaks takes a positive spin. Assange and his crew have gotten their hands on some pretty important documents and information and released it to the public. Now, journalists and society get attain this information that leaders and the people in power have been holding back.

And that’s why Wikileaks has gotten a bad wrap. The people in power essentially are no longer in power of the information that is released concerning them. Political leaders and the powerful people often speak about transparency and promise to make more information available to the public. However, those are only words and are not always followed through with. Now, Assange has taken matters into his own hands and thrown the information out there. Now, people are panicked. The people withholding this information are brought into light. Reputations are changed and peoples opinions concerning topics are changed. People are now able to make a more educated opinion concerning important topics, like the war in Iraq.

Journalists jobs have not changed considerably after the development of this website. If anything, there is more pressure to attain accurate information. No longer do journalists have to gain their research and information through interviews and set up meetings. Technology has made the process of securing information easier and quicker. Just press the power button and world knowledge is only a click away.

Behind Closed Doors

Posted: March 16, 2011 by stephaniekelly10 in #8 Wikileaks

How much is too much? This seems to be the debate that divides supporters and opponents of Julian Assange’s controversial website, Wikileaks. There are valid arguments on both sides of the issue. Political scientists will argue Wikileaks is a threat to national security and that there are some things best kept behind closed doors. Journalists on the other hand, advocate for transparency and accountability and have little mercy for the governments, individuals and corporations who are held over the fire for their unjust actions. (more…)

Information is scary… to those in power.

Posted: March 15, 2011 by Alex Vietinghoff in #8 Wikileaks

Wikileaks, and all the hype surrounding it, tells me that people in power are afraid of information.  More specifically, of information being in the hands of the public.  It allows the public to form strong emotional opinions based on mistakes or controversial things that have been done, said, or planned.

Journalists are purveyors of information.  That has been the case for centuries.  Some of the major things that have changed are the mediums, the speed with which messages can be conveyed, and the many ways the public can show their opinion on news or information.

Wikileaks is also a purveyor of information.  But it is being viewed by a lot of people as a “vigilante”-style info site.  And I think that the people in power affected negatively by Wikileaks want it to be seen this way, and try to perpetuate that image.


Truth equals freedom. The main ingredient in truth is information. That’s what Wikileaks founder and spokesperson Julian Assange believes. 

Journalists play an essential role in the dissemination of information that leads to “freedom,” and that’s necessary for democracy to function as it should.  However, while journalists work to uncover and report accurate information, governments often work to suppress truth, or spread false information, to further their agendas.  That’s why organisations like Wikileaks, that work to hold governments accountable by providing accurate–and usually hidden–information, are beloved by some and reviled by others.  (more…)

Wikileaks has changed the way in which journalists and the public receive information from their governments. Before Wikileaks, journalists relied heavily on their own research, archive material, research databases, interviews, and months upon months of work and story development- sometimes years. However, Wikileaks was able to compete and completely squash the media competition towards information and was able to release more classified, top secret information (mainly government documents) to the public on their website than all media sources combined. However, can journalists, the public, and our governments be able to handle this amount of information? Is Wikileaks a valuable piece in the puzzle or is it the Jenga piece that makes our way of knowing the world collapse?


#8 Wikileaks

Posted: March 4, 2011 by Philip Lee in #8 Wikileaks

What does the Wikileaks controversy tell us about the power of information, and the role of journalists in the information age? What has changed? What has not changed? Answer these questions making specific references to the Wikileaks story and the interaction of Wikileaks and journalists. Due March 16, before class.