Before week 7, I really had no idea what Wikileaks was or its purpose for that matter. I was not until my group was given the task to debate against whether or not Wikileaks is a form of real media that I began my research and what I managed to find was quite interesting.
Firstly, Wikileaks can be defined as an international database founded by Julian Assange that aims to publish and expose private, secret news material from sources that remain anonymous onto the web. The news and materials that are published are media that Governments have kept hidden from its citizens. Although Wikileaks follows a similar publishing style as other regular news media outlets, the question that remains is whether or not it has become a new form of real media? Although many people do believe that it is a new form of media, others, including myself, strongly disagree for the following main reasons.
I believe it is NOT new media as Wikileaks came together via a collaboration of old-school investigative reporting and journalism and the internet, which is its most recent medium, however it has no real effect on the content. The internet is merely used as a method of distribution of the content onto the web. It really only is a form of online publishing as documents undergo the same process of obtaining and publishing content: information is collected and is edited before the data is published and therefore should be considered as nothing more than an already existing form of basic journalism.
Assange said that his organization has made a point of collaborating with news outlets also as newspapers can contextualize the information and synthesize it in a way that’s digestible to the average reader. The reason for this was to save people from having to sift through thousands of online documents. Again, the use of newspapers to publish leaks proves that old media forms are still used and have not been entirely replaced. The news organisations are also releasing these Wikileak documents through familiar, exisiting methods such as Google docsspreadsheets, and infographics.
WikiLeaks has previously stated in its operations that its “primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behaviour in their governments and corporations.” During the unrest of the Middle East, Assange has stated that both Facebook and Twitter have played a major role, which are again two already-existing social networking platforms.
So with that said, I’m pretty interested in hearing what those who do believe it is a new form of real media have to say!