The Wikileaks Reporter speaks up for Traditional Journalism
The award-winning journalist Nick Davies is the initiator of the collaboration between traditional media and WikiLeaks. He highlights the importance of traditional journalism and he has even gotten the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange convinced that the citizen journalism (the Internet) needs traditional media. Let’s hear what the legendary reporter has to say!
Business Model is Collapsing
Nick Davies admits that the newspaper industry has severe structural weaknesses and he sums up some statistics that he has gathered:
– While the space that a reporter is expected to fill has increased by 300%, reporter’s time to work on it has decreased to 1/3.
This leads to a huge problem; articles are lacking facts and the news have become unreliable. According to Davies only 12% of the news of the largest distribution channels have been checked. These channels get 80% of their stories from ”2nd hand sources”, e.g. local news agencies.
– If we don’t check we are in terrible trouble! Davies states.
The Importance of the Traditional Media in the Case of WikiLeaks
Despite the power of the Internet and the problems that the newspapers are facing, Davies still thinks that traditional media is the most important news channel. He even got the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to grasp it.
Davies points out that a journalist has to be good at motivating people to talk. He rationalized to Assange that by cooperating with the mainstream media – e.g. The Guardian, The New York Times,Der Spiegel – WikiLeaks is able reach the whole world. He also made Assange to realize that the mass media would give the editor in chief of WikiLeaks the protection he needs.
– There’s no way that Barack Obama’s White House would attack The New York Times, Davies explained. At the moment Davies isn’t sure whether WikiLeaks itself has a future:
– Many of the employees have left because they couldn’t tolerate the way Julian was treating them.
Davies describes Assange as a clever, hardworking and fun guy but there is also a horrible side of him because of his autism. Davies naturally can’t comment Assange’s sex crimes in Sweden but he brings up that Assange himself has taken the accusations as an example of the weakness of the traditional media and he subscribes to Assange’s view.
Nowadays Davies has stood aside from reporting about WikiLeaks reveals but he occasionally gives speeches about his part in the process. Last week he was a guest speaker at both Sanoma and Haaga-Helia in Finland.
Soon Mr. Davies may also be hitting the big screen. Steven Spielberg has expressed his interest in making a film about the WikiLeaks. But in a time of increasing uncertainty in the newspaper business, the movie worries Davies; Spielberg seems to be more interested in making a success film than elicit the facts.