Title

WIKILEAKS AND THE AGE OF DATAJOURNALISM

Presenter Information

Devin Schmit

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks is changing world politics in profound new ways. Within the past year, the site has posted four massive information leaks, including classified war reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as thousands of secret diplomatic cables. Several major newspapers have published stories based on the data in the leaks, giving the once unknown site significant exposure. For journalists, leaked information can be a double-edged sword. The U.S. Government routinely condemns the data release, claiming that it puts innocent lives and military assets in jeopardy. WikiLeaks says the opposite, claiming that the information it publishes has been verified and vetted by volunteers to avoid putting lives in danger. This conflict of interests creates tremendous responsibility for journalists—who must weigh the competing interests of disclosure in the public interest versus government secrecy. I will use the program Prezi for a presentation that will lead viewers piece by piece through a diagram that explains journalism’s responsibility regarding WikiLeaks disclosures. As a whole, the diagram will move like a flowchart, illuminating journalists’ decision-making process while also exploring viewpoints from past leakers, U.S. officials and media outlets. Different media outlets have handled the leaks differently. American media have been forced to tread lightly around the leaks, while foreign newspapers have used the data in its entirety. This era of “datajournalism” has created a new ethical standard in journalism—in which reporters must understand the gravity of publishing incriminating, classified data on a level that transcends international borders.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 15th, 9:00 AM Apr 15th, 9:20 AM

WIKILEAKS AND THE AGE OF DATAJOURNALISM

UC 332

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks is changing world politics in profound new ways. Within the past year, the site has posted four massive information leaks, including classified war reports from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as thousands of secret diplomatic cables. Several major newspapers have published stories based on the data in the leaks, giving the once unknown site significant exposure. For journalists, leaked information can be a double-edged sword. The U.S. Government routinely condemns the data release, claiming that it puts innocent lives and military assets in jeopardy. WikiLeaks says the opposite, claiming that the information it publishes has been verified and vetted by volunteers to avoid putting lives in danger. This conflict of interests creates tremendous responsibility for journalists—who must weigh the competing interests of disclosure in the public interest versus government secrecy. I will use the program Prezi for a presentation that will lead viewers piece by piece through a diagram that explains journalism’s responsibility regarding WikiLeaks disclosures. As a whole, the diagram will move like a flowchart, illuminating journalists’ decision-making process while also exploring viewpoints from past leakers, U.S. officials and media outlets. Different media outlets have handled the leaks differently. American media have been forced to tread lightly around the leaks, while foreign newspapers have used the data in its entirety. This era of “datajournalism” has created a new ethical standard in journalism—in which reporters must understand the gravity of publishing incriminating, classified data on a level that transcends international borders.