It began in April with the release of a video showing Apache helicopter pilots killing civilians, including two Reuters employees, after apparently mistaking cameras for weapons, and ended in December with five of the world’s most respected print outlets publishing valuable reporting based on a trove of 260,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. This Year of WikiLeaks roiled the news equation and will continue to do so, even if WikiLeaks can’t manage to continue to produce documents on such a scale. As the U.S. government investigated possible criminal charges against Julian Assange, the organization’s public face, journalists around the world rightly began to worry about what such a prosecution would mean for everyday national security reporting. The U.S. has never tried to convict a journalist for publishing classified information, and any attempt would be a threat to our grand tradition of a free press. Meanwhile, the site’s vault to prominence has raised critical, tangled questions beyond press law—about the true goals of transparency and about the value of journalists. In late December, Clint Hendler, our WikiLeaks watcher, grappled with the site’s impact. You can find his piece, and a link to CJR’s comprehensive WikiLeaks coverage, here.
06:22 PM - January 8, 2011
Notes on 2010, the year of WikiLeaks
How Forbes got to $475 million - That’s what a Hong Kong investor has agreed to pay for a firm that two years ago had trouble paying its rent
Are female journalists up to the job of a Jill Abramson interview? - Reporters avoid unflattering discussion about her firing
How to check if that viral video is true - Journalists don’t always verify user-generated content, so readers need to learn how to verify what they see online
The Grand Dame of Florida reporting has retired twice, but she’s still causing trouble - A conversation with the Tampa Bay Times’ Lucy Morgan
Brick by brick - After years of shrinking ambition at The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos has the paper thinking global domination
Email blasts from CJR writers and editors
The beginning of the end of burner phones?
“‘Richard?’ I say. ‘Richard?’ I shove his shoulder and nothing happens. He is dead. He is on my watch and he is dead. I hear gurgling. Breathing. He’s on my watch and he is not dead.”
“Here’s how not to suck at it: Don’t write like an entertainment reporter”
“[R]ather than immediately launching a large collection of digital ‘magazines’ based on strong, expert journalists with their own followings, as we imagined earlier, we’ll begin by building out the two we’ve started and then explore adding new ones as we learn”
Greg Marx discusses democracy and news with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute
Who Owns What
A report from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Questions and exercises for journalism students.