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Wikileaks Paperback – 6 Jan 2012

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More About the Author

Charlie Beckett is the founding director of Polis, the journalism think-tank in the LSE's Media and Communications Department. He was an award-winning filmmaker and editor at LWT, BBC and ITN's Channel 4 News. He is the author of SuperMedia (Wiley Blackwell, 2008) which sets out how journalism is being transformed by technological and other changes and how that will impact on society. Polis is a public forum for debate about the news media in the UK and globally. Polis holds seminars, conferences and lectures and has published reports on topics such as social media, reporting politics, financial journalism, humanitarian communication and media and development.
The Director's Blog is
The Polis website is
He is on Twitter as @charliebeckett

Product Description


"A well–written and interesting account of WikiLeaks history"
Discourse and Communication

"An incisive overview of the Wikileaks saga and itsimplications."
The Age

"An excellent systematic documentation on the history ofWikiLeaks and the controversial role of the founder."
Digital Journalism

"Would be an excellent text to assign in courses on journalism. Itcomes highly recommended, since it is full of insight, is easy tonavigate and makes compelling arguments."
Central European Journal of International and SecurityStudies

"A cool–headed, astute analysis of the social, political andtechnological context in which the now infamous website wasformed."
Engineering and Technology

"This excellent study is a fascinating insight into WikiLeaks andis the first bookt o examine this new phenomenon of the age."
Orange Standard

"In this terrific book, Charlie Beckett with James Ball weave thedisparate threads of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks – the future ofjournalism, of statecraft, of secrecy – into a readable andcompelling narrative. Essential for anyone interested in the futureof free speech or global politics."
Clay Shirky, New York University

"A fascinating insight into Wikileaks, and what its version oftransparency means for the ethics, focus and newly emerging formsof journalism in our time. Beckett and Ball have produced a bookthat combines timeliness with significance in its examination ofthe implications of Wikileaks for journalism."
David A L Levy, University of Oxford

"Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand one of thebiggest revolutions for journalism, whistleblowing and freedom ofinformation."
Jo Glanville, Editor, Index on Censorship

About the Author

Charlie Beckett is Director of POLIS at the London School ofEconomics.

James Ball is a journalist with The Guardian andvisiting lecturer at City University, London.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A thoughtful look at WikiLeaks' place in the news ecosystem 27 Aug. 2012
By Mark Coddington - Published on
Format: Paperback
There are dozens of angles from which to view the WikiLeaks phenomenon, and Beckett and Ball make their book especially useful not by trying to cover as many of them as they can, but by picking one (WikiLeaks and journalism) and providing a remarkably thoughtful analysis of it.

Beckett and Ball's greatest contribution in this book is in placing WikiLeaks' contribution to journalism in the context of the emergence of networked journalism as a challenge to traditional professional journalism. Others have also made this connection (most prominently Yochai Benkler), but this book is the most thorough treatment of issue I've seen. The authors go beyond the specifics of the WikiLeaks story to set it against the backdrop of hacktivism, advocacy journalism by NGOs, foundation-supported nonprofit journalism, and other emerging concepts in journalism to show how WikiLeaks relates to each of them and how it brings something new to journalism that the others don't.

The authors provide a thoughtful assessment of several dimensions of WikiLeaks' relationship to journalism - how it challenges the traditional system, what WikiLeaks' journalistic obligations are and whether it lives up to them, and whether WikiLeaks is viable as a journalistic model. They're generally supportive of WikiLeaks (Ball used to be associated with the group), but they're not reluctant to criticize WikiLeaks and Assange when necessary.

The discussion ranges a bit far afield when it dips into the role of social media in the Arab Spring (which really needs its own book to analyze in any substantive way), but overall, this is a fair, thoughtful, and thorough analysis of how WikiLeaks fits into the continually changing world of news. Other (more hastily produced) books on WikiLeaks touch on this issue only superficially, but this book takes the time to give it the full consideration it deserves.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Observations & Speculation on What WikiLeaks Phenomenon Might Mean for Journalism. 24 Jun. 2012
By mirasreviews - Published on
Format: Paperback
"WikiLeaks: News in the Networked Era" presents history, hypothesis, analysis, and speculation about WikiLeaks' influence on and its interaction with conventional journalism, as seen by Charlie Beckett, a journalist who runs Polis, a think tank at the London School of Economics. Julian Assange dismissed this book, I'm sure without having read it, because of James Ball's contributions. Ball is a former WikiLeaks volunteer turned rabid Assange critic, most notable for writing "The Guardian"'s more nonsensical smear pieces against the WikiLeaks founder. But Ball seems only to have contributed theory, and perhaps research, to this book. It contains no reference to his experiences. The book is generally complimentary of WikiLeaks, in fact, and only mildly critical of Assange.

Beckett begins by declaring that "WikiLeaks is the most powerful journalism phenomenon to emerge in the digital era." "It is a prototype for the shift from a closely linear structure to a more open, networked and collaborative process." One of the book's flaws is that it never really proves that thesis. As a consumer of journalism, I haven't noticed any seismic shift in the relationship between journalist and consumer. Charlie Beckett's ideas are interesting to the extent that they represent a journalist's, and perhaps even an industry's, perspective on the WikiLeaks phenomenon, but they are speculative. He correctly points out that Julian Assange is "quite a conventional media idealist", which has served Assange poorly. It serves Beckett poorly too; he paints too rosy picture of journalists.

The book is organized into four parts, each of which present a different topic, followed by the authors' interpretation of WikiLeaks' significance in that context. "What was new about WikiLeaks?" traces the organization's early history, when it fit a "classic definition of alternative media." "The Afghan War Logs, Iraq War Logs, and the Embassy Cables" release relied on formal partnerships with media organizations, and the authors emphasize on how different media organizations worked with WikiLeaks. "WikiLeaks and the future of journalism" covers, somewhat partially, the breakdown of WikiLeaks' relationships with news organizations and its role in the battle for an open internet. "Social medias as disruptive journalism" gives social media too much credit in the so-called "Arab Spring".

It is difficult to know how to rate "WikiLeaks: News in the Networked Era". Those who have followed the WikiLeaks saga closely will find some new ideas here that merit discussion. I found there was too little of it, however. There is no attempt to be rigorous or to delve deeply into any topic. Beckett is concerned with presenting ideas, not with exploring them. The writing style seems aimed at dull 12-year-olds. And there are too many errors: WikiLeaks has not been around for a decade (p. 2). "Underground" was not written in 2001 (p. 17). The threat reports from the Afghan War Logs were never published (p. 53). Egyptian activist Wael Ghonim worked for Google, not Facebook (p. 140). I could go on. Better editing and more depth would have made this a better book.
A balanced description of Wikileaks and its founder. 9 Nov. 2013
By Xray - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well researched and gives a clear account of the history of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden as well as the role of the media in publishing previously secret (but true ) information. The public reaction is mostly polarised between admiration and praise on the one hand and anger and hatred on the other. USA is the subject of most of the revelations and they regard Assange as a criminal even though all his actions have been outside the country. Julian Assange is not necessarily an attractive personality but he has taken a big step in questioning the culture of secrecy in national affairs.
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