A slew of my own writings have been backlogged and deemed irrelevant by the delay of release. Thus, clumsily, we arrive at the release featured most prominently in the news, if not for its actual content then at least for its process, Wikileaks.
Such international collaboration on a major story is unprecedented in the history of journalism and points to the new role that elite news organizations play in the Internet age — in this case, as conduits of material originally obtained not by their own investigative journalists but by others, such as WikiLeaks.The big papers wouldn’t have the material without WikiLeaks. And WikiLeaks wouldn’t get the international exposure — and, perhaps more important, the credibility — that comes from having its material published in the world’s most important newspapers.
Most interesting to me is perhaps the collaboration and integration between traditional print media, online platforms and this quarter's most tradeworthy argot, data-journalism.
In addition to this, I'm suprised by the confusion between a news agency and (investigative) journalism; the difference between source material and an article. As Lovink/Riemens suggest in their Ten Theses on Wikileaks;
Traditional investigative journalism consisted of three phases: unearthing facts, cross-checking these and backgrounding them into an understandable discourse. Wikileaks does the first, claims to do the second, but leaves the issue of the third completely blank.
We're not seeing a new form of journalism - yet - but a new form of sourcework, a sourcework exponentiated by the decade's onset into the ubiquitous digital networking and storing of data. Journalism, quality journalism, still requires vast networks of contacts, the ability to cross-check quickly and accurately and detailed field knowledge of specific geopolitical spheres. Crowdsourcing has not yet answered that call and cannot, should not, replace it. Remain critical.