Is Wikileaks the 21st century newspaper?

December 20, 2010

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What General Yeo doesn’t want you to know is really in cocktail talk

I came across this piece in Unspun. Its a fascinating take by the New York Times about the Power of Wikileaks, The Press and who changes whom in the process of publicizing the diplomatic memos and cables.

What’s so rivetting about this write up (IMHO at least) is how imaginatively, the author underscores the fact that while the digital  medium is powerful by itself, the message gets amplified when traditional media is enlisted as well.

The point being made here is that Wikileaks would not have made such a ear shattering bang had it not successfully manipulated the traditional press by adding legitimacy and credibility to itself by collaborating with the MSM.

Many a lesson here for the PR practitioner. Media pundits. Or someone who is just interested in how stuff come together to create unexpected outcomes – there are however exceptions to this epiphany, one of them is of course our much beloved daily rag who remains quite unaffected by Wikileaks since it’s hermetically sealed in a time warp of it’s own making.

Happy Reading!

WikiLeaks Taps Power Of the Press By DAVID CARR

Has WikiLeaks changed journalism forever?

Perhaps. Or maybe it was the other way around.

Think back to 2008, when WikiLeaks simply released documents that suggested the government of Kenya had looted its country. The follow-up in the mainstream media was decidedly muted.

Then last spring, WikiLeaks adopted a more journalistic approach — editing and annotating a 2007 video from Baghdad in which an Apache helicopter fired on men who appeared to be unarmed, including two employees of Reuters. The reviews were mixed, with some suggesting that the video had been edited to political ends, but the disclosure received much more attention in the press.

In July, WikiLeaks began what amounted to a partnership with mainstream media organizations, including The New York Times, by giving them an early look at the so-called Afghan War Diary, a strategy that resulted in extensive reporting on the implications of the secret documents.

Then in November, the heretofore classified mother lode of 250,000 United States diplomatic cables that describe tensions across the globe was shared by WikiLeaks with Le Monde, El Pais, The Guardian and Der Spiegel. (The Guardian shared documents with The New York Times.) The result was huge: many articles have come out since, many of them deep dives into the implications of the trove of documents.

Notice that with each successive release, WikiLeaks has become more strategic and has been rewarded with deeper, more extensive coverage of its revelations. It’s a long walk from WikiLeaks’s origins as a user-edited site held in common to something more akin to a traditional model of publishing, but seems to be in keeping with its manifesto to deliver documents with “maximum possible impact.”


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