news and journalism in the age of wikileaks

Posted on December 11, 2010


I once compared journalists to the clergy of dark ages europe. as the only ones who could read, they controlled the access of the people to “truth”. what they said, and how they interpeted the bible decided what those that followed them perceived and believed in.

in the bad old days of tightly controlled news media, this was still the case – only now the journalist and the editor, with their worldviews coloured the opinions of many.

we now have a lot of choice, and access to a lot of source material (such as wikileaks). outing the truth and the facts of government’s abuse of its citizens is something that anybody can do. Many journalists i know perceive themselves to be bettr than those who read their reports. some assume that because they are published in a newspaper their version of the facts is better than that of a blogger or layman who has an opinion. I have a hard time with this as i woudl rather read 20 articles about a topic i am interested in, then one which is meant to be objective. in this case googlenews or huffpost are more valuable to me than the economist.

it must be hard to be in an industry that is at once booming, more journalists than ever before, and at the same time facing a crisis – what is a journalist today?Many journalists disregard citizen journalism as a fad, or something that is unproffessional. just like doctors of old who disregarded those who would not bleed their patients. professions change over time.