Oy Emperor: these clothes…

Are the carefully stage-managed releases of diplomatic communications by WikiLeaks different to the carefully stage-managed leaks by the Daily Telegraph about Parliamentary expenses abuses? Or any hot news splash from any news publisher?

WikiLeaks claims to be a not-for-profit media organisation seeking to bring important information to the public. It relies on donations for financial support and is vague as to how donated funds are spent and who gets the money. Call me cynical if you wish, but I would not be surprised to see, somewhere behind WikiLeaks, a satisfyingly healthy bank statement.

And why healthy? Largely because it has very low staff costs. It pays no journalists to gather its news; uses the journalists of others to advertise its wares; and gets people to visit its website through which it generates funds. How clever is that?

In WikiLeaks the axe-grinders have found a medium which needs shock horror stories to build its brand. Equally, said medium generates income simply by building a perception in tune with every conspiracy theory ever invented. We all love a good conspiracy; Diana couldn’t possibly have died because she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when her drunk driver smashed into a concrete pillar at high speed. It must have been [insert favourite villain here].

Is what WikiLeaks does important? Possibly; or perhaps its lack of discrimination has made the world a slightly more dangerous place while generating an income at the same time.
This is John Blauth’s editorial, which features in every issue of Media Digest. John Blauth is the big boss ofImmediate Network, which publishes Media Digest.

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“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”


Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.


(Source: POLIS)

 

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