100 articles – ‘Is this the future of journalism?’

6 June 2011

Written by: Lawrie Zion

‘Is this the future of journalism?’ by Jonathan Stray

The ‘Collateral Murder’ video released in early 2010 brought Wikileaks into the international spotlight. In this article published on Foreign Policy in April 2010, Jonathan Stray – a journalist and computer scientist – analyses the video and Wikileaks’ treatment of it.

While debate continues to rage over whether Julian Assange is a journalist or not, Stray implies that the sourcing and release of ‘Collateral Murder’ was a journalistic act. Wikileaks did not merely regurgitate the video, but released an edited version that transcribed the radio conversation and highlighted what was going on.

This is in line with traditional journalistic practises whereby information is augmented with some form of commentary. As with Wikileaks’ releases, that commentary is invariably scrutinised for bias.

Stray’s article stands out because it cuts to the chase of the debate at the very moment when Wikileaks was propelled into the spotlight. One year later, a cacophony of voices still surrounds Assange, with public criticism remaining as fierce as ever.

In the end Stray makes a simple point about the nature of Assange’s organisation: journalists themselves won’t criticise Wikileaks in private, because they understand that Wikileaks is ‘the thin edge of the wedge’ of journalistic freedom.

Suzannah Marshall Macbeth is a Master of Global Communications student at La Trobe University and a member of the upstart editorial team. You can follow her on Twitter on @equineocean which is also the name of her blog.

Want to contribute to our list of the 100 articles every journalist should read about journalism? Full details, including the list so far, can be found  here.