Predicting the future of WikiLeaks: Follow the media!

By Evgeny Morozov 

One possible future for WikiLeaks is to morph into a gigantic media intermediary — perhaps, even something of a clearing house for investigative reporting — where even low-level leaks would be matched with the appropriate journalists to pursue and report on them and, perhaps, even with appropriate N.G.O.’s to advocate on their causes. Under this model, WikiLeaks staffers would act as idea salesmen relying on one very impressive digital Rolodex.

The argument I’m making in the Times piece rests on three premises:

a) WikiLeaks, at least in its post-Cablegate reincarnation, has two major assets: an easily recognizable brand and an extensive network of contacts in the media

b) If the Cablegate release ends up having significant global repercussions — resignations of politicians, alterations in the behavior of governments and corporations — this is bound to encourage more people to take risks and start leaking

c) The buzz generated by the Cablegate makes it clear that WikiLeaks is only as effective as their media partners: they are the ones screening the cables, identifying narrative threads, redacting the names, and, most importantly, embarrassing the parties involved.

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