Is Wikileaks journalism?

Rebecca Berg has an interesting column on our site about Wikileaks and classified documents. Reader Andrew Hansen asks whether Berg is correct in describing Wikileaks as journalism. What do you think? And does it matter what we call it?

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5 Responses to Is Wikileaks journalism?

  1. Christina Stiehl says:

    I’m still conflicted as to whether or not I think Wikileaks is ethical, but in terms of journalism, I would agree that it is. The purpose of journalism is to find the truth, right? Assuming all these documents are truthful, it is the most blatant form of investigative journalism, except the “investigation” aspect was already taken care of by those who submitted the documents.

    In today’s media culture, there is always a fine line between journalism and entertainment. Is entertainment news journalism? Are sensational documentaries and tabloids journalism? Those of us at the MU J School tend to want to believe journalists are only good, ethical, truth-seeking people because that is who we are taught to be, thus anything that’s not ethical isn’t true journalism. The reality is that like with any other profession, there are not only gray areas, but also unethical people and practices.

  2. Joel Kowsky says:

    In my opinion Wikileaks is not journalism. They are a clearing house for information. Yes Wikileaks publishes information on their website, but they do not add commentary or try to explain the documents that they present.

    Holding a press conference on the documents and strategically releasing them on a slow news day does not make them a media organization. Its just really good PR.

    Until Wikileaks starts providing commentary on the documents they release, to me they are still a clearing house for information and not a journalistic endeavor.

  3. Mallory Benedict says:

    I don’t think Wikileaks is journalism, but I think it provides some solid research and investigative tools for journalists.

  4. Sara Cox says:

    It goes back to the age old question — what is journalism? Going back to J1100 with good ole Mr. Davis, journalism is a lot of things. So in my opinion, yes, Wikileaks is journalism, but so is the man keeping a journal about how often he feeds his cats.

  5. Alvaro Guzman says:

    In my opinion the existence of Wikileaks itself is a proof of journalist’s failure to do one of their most important jobs: Investigating. And investigating the powerful.
    Wikileaks is not journalism, but it is occupying a space that traditional media (and journalists’) have chosen to abandon.
    It is not journalism because it uses the media to broadcast its information. And a medium does not only produce but also distributes (or broadcasts) information. (Same reason why Google News can’t be considered journalism).

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