The website Wikileaks has published more than 90,000 leaked U.S. military records about the war in Afghanistan. Marc Ambinder has a lot more about the content of the classified archive, but there's another fascinating aspect to the story: Wikileaks gave the New York Times, Guardian, and Der Spiegel access to the archive several weeks ago.
The rogue, rather mysterious website provided the raw data; the newspapers provided the context, corroboration, analysis, and distribution.
MORE ON WIKILEAKS:
Marc Ambinder: "The Raw Data"
James Fallows: "A Vietnam Precedent"
Niraj Chokshi: "Crowdsourcing Begins"
"Wikileaks was not involved in the news organizations' research, reporting, analysis and writing," Times editors said in an online note. "The Times spent about a month mining the data for disclosures and patterns, verifying and cross-checking with other information sources, and preparing the articles that are published today."
While the impact of the documents and newspaper reportage on the war in Afghanistan will take a while to suss out, the publication of these documents will be seen as a milestone in the new news ecosystem.
Unlike the Pentagon Papers situation, we're "watching the traces of a major story unfold in real time," said C.W. Anderson, who studies media culture at CUNY. "If you're a PhD student or comm / journalism researcher who wants to study how news diffuses in 2010, here's your case study," he tweeted.