Wikileaks has published numerous secret documents related to government agencies, operations and influential companies. The organization is constantly releasing highly controversial US diplomatic cable leaks or Cablegate such as Afghan war logs, Collateral Murder, Vaulte7, weeping angel vulnerabilities, etc to name some. Thousands of US diplomatic cables were made available to the public through a simple keyword google search. The recent documents supposedly pointed to the back-entry given to the US National Security Agency (NSA) by the tech giants as a part of prism surveillance program.
How Wikileaks transformed journalism
The traditional journalism was under the control of many factors including land laws, ethics, security threats, government policies, lack of strong financial backups etc. Such traditional organizations are currently struggling to raise profit by journalism, which in itself is a tough business, and facing hard times due to the overlooming power of the internet.
Wikileaks has led to a complete transformation of this condition; the new organizations have become braver. The organization founder gives importance to the maintenance of secrecy regarding the identities of its journalists. The internet has now created an ocean of opportunities for the news business.
Wikileaks published the leaked documents often in collaboration with the traditional news organizations like The Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, El País (Spain), Der Spiegel (Germany), etc. This opportunity gave them a cutting edge in their news business by being the first publishers of potential juicy, controversial stories. Some of the stories were powerful enough to create political changes, and were normally not accessible to regular news media.
The growing profile of Wikileaks and the controversies created by each publication has helped not only the traditional media to find new strong grounds, but also resulted in the sprouting of new bolder organizations. To be short, Wikileaks has resulted in a transformation phenomenon of news business.
Online trading has also changed and HBSwiss is a proof for that.
Effect on journalism and news production
Journalism faced a new challenge with the availability of thousands of confidential, classified information as news domains and not simply documents, all within reach of an internet search. They have received a strategic tool as news media as well as journalism business. Wikileaks has changed the method of news production. Contracts with the news giants, gave it an upper hand by deciding which leaked information to be published. The news giants found it easy to get hold of sensitive leaks from political wing powers through Wikileaks, particularly the Cablegate leaks, which were now easily available in the public domain.
Investigation and reporting expenses taking a backseat will considerably change the budget of newsmaking as journalists need not go in search of news, just need to validate and finalize the content to be published.
In brief, Wikileaks has lead to the growth of news business and journalism in the following ways:
- The secret documents often get published in the front pages of popular newspapers. Being sensational news, it readily increases the customer base. The same applied to other news media also.
- Wikileaks has transformed traditional newsmaking business. Journalists get access to potential breaking news through new sources.
- The media have changed their method of working and are finding ways to extract profitability out of news business
- Journalism has become bolder, since anonymous reporting is on the go following the footsteps of Wikileaks.