By: Clay Shirky
EDWARD SNOWDEN’S REVELATIONS about the conduct of the NSA don’t just tell us about the past conduct of the government. They tell us something about the future of political journalism. In light of the extraordinary pressure on New York Times reporter James Risen to reveal his sources, and significant movements to restrict journalistic reporting of leaks by the Obama Administration, it’s clear the stories that arose from Snowden’s leak have moved journalistic coverage of the world’s governments, already a fraught endeavor, into a new and more contentious phase.
Before Snowden, we saw the distribution of video and cables from the US State Department, leaked by Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning. That was an extraordinary occurrence, but one of such strangeness—the scale, the involvement of Julian Assange, Manning’s own military history—that it was impossible to know which aspects of that leak were singular occurrences and which indicated larger patterns…
Originally posted on Columbia Journalism Review
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