Is it morally correct for the US to pursue prosecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange? Is alleged leaker of military documents Bradley Manning a hero or a traitor? And what do Wikileaks and the Internet mean to the future of journalism? James Moore, the New York Times bestselling author of "Bush's Brain" is joined by technologist Ben Werdmuller from the UK, the creator of one of the web's early social networking platforms, and KRLD Dallas radio host Scott Braddock, to discuss "Wikileaks, the Web, and the Long, Strange Journey of Journalism." Moore will lead the panel by arguing that Assange and Manning are heroic figures and ought to be honored in a culture that requires information to sustain a democracy. Werdmuller will offer his insight on the Internet’s long term reach and impact with regard to information, systems, and public access to data that was previously unavailable, and Braddock will articulate the perspective that Assange and Manning have done harm to America and its allies and need to be treated as people who have acted outside of the law. Audience participation and questions will be encouraged.
Journalists and scholars have talked on and off about the idea of journalism as a conversation for nearly 20 years. It stands in contrast to decades of traditional journalism as a lecture, in which the all-knowing journalist alone decides what is news and conducts a monologue with the public on such matters, or maybe a dialogue with public officials and other elites. Citizens here are at best passive bystanders. But no more.
Now pretty much anyone with Internet access and a few Web tools can create and distribute news, collaborate with professional journalists in real time and select what news to follow, if any, from a dizzying array of choices. The media business and academia were slow to pick up on the change but are now taking heed. Curiously, little empirical research developed to help us understand what exactly we mean by conversation and then how to apply it to journalism's most treasured values, credibility and expertise.
Until now. This presentation explores key practical tips from doctoral research on how best to incorporate citizen audiences into online media processes. Doing it haphazardly can mean loss of perceived credibility, authority and just plain likeability. Doing it well, however, can create the kind of sustained interest we all crave for our sites.
Wikileaks began as an audacious idea, a statement about the potential of the internet to speak truth to power and to open governments. Barely four years later, the whistleblower's website finds itself at the centre of an unprecedented global storm over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of confidential cables from US embassies around the world. To many WikiLeaks's founder Julian Assange is a hero who has shone the bright glare of public scrutiny into places governments would rather keep hidden; to others he is a vandal, taking a sledgehammer to the secrecy all states need to maintain to function. Is Wikileaks just one expression valve for the web, one that would be replaced by others if it was closed? Has it changed the public's understanding of and relationship to government in any real and lasting way, or is it a media preoccupation?
11th–15th March 2011