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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Journalism advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders launched a Wikileaks mirror site today in one of the boldest moves in defense of Wikileaks I’ve seen by a media organization since the cables were originally released. The site was live when I checked it Tuesday evening.

Their support “will be constantly reassessed in the light of WikiLeaks’ activities and the content it offers in the future” –but the mirror site is a good start.

Let’s hope RWB don’t do any business with AmazonBank of AmericaApple or Paypal — who all dropped Wikileaks in one form or another over the past month…for various reasons…like um…pressure from U.S. politicians and the Justice Department.

The State Department was scrambling to contact foreign governments leading up to the leak and with good reason. A lot of the stuff was embarrassing for the U.S.

Reporters Without Borders said they’re hosting the mirror site in the name of free flow of information. They argue the release of the information serves the general interest and the public right’s to be informed.

Not to mention, the cables reveal some pretty juicy stuff -like how that one time, that one guy SLAPPED Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They’re almost like reading love letters you weren’t supposed to see.

It’s pretty interesting because while the New York Times defends their right to publish stories using the cables, I haven’t seen anything about them defending Wikileaks…

From the Reporters Without Borders statement about the site:

As is often the case with investigative journalism, laws were broken to obtain the documents that were passed to WikiLeaks, and which WikiLeaks has made available to leading news media. In theory, this means that WikiLeaks, and the media that have been cooperating with it, could be regarded as accomplices.

Damn straight some laws were probably broken. But sounds like the government needs to check their own housekeeping rather than going after Julian Assange and Wikileaks so hard. I mean, these cables didn’t leak themselves.

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A great example of powerful data presentation is this interactive timeline of roadside bombs in Iraq that Al-Jazeera produced from the war logs leaked by Wikileaks.

I’ve read dozens of stories about the death toll from IED’s. I see the numbers groups like iCasualties.org release monthly. I’ve even written about them here. But when I saw Al-Jazeera’s timeline I was still surprised.

In five minutes, I saw documentation of every single IED incident. I got to see when it was, what type of explosive and exactly where it happened. Imagine how long it would take to read a story that told every IED incident in Iraq with that detail.

One of the most important things you learn in journalism is how to take large amounts of information and present them in a way for people to get the most out of them quickly. The basic concept being: Idea in my head => words are written => words are read => idea in your head.

Data visualization takes a more powerful approach. Large amounts of raw information get converted into pictures, charts, diagrams, interactive presentations – that give a somewhat immediate sense of understanding. Large amount of  raw data => Idea in my head => data visualization => immediate understanding of impact and scope of data.

Ever wonder what our solar system would sound like if we assigned a tone to each planet. Here’s an interesting graphic on planet revolutions around the sun.

Read more after the jump:

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Last Saturday one of our local teams played in the high school football sate championships. Unfortunately, they lost, but it was a good run. They ended the season 15-1. You can find the story  by @loubezjakfmnhere.

It seemed like Dillon followed the same pattern every game. They’d score early and keep scoring. In the last half they’d start to wear down, but with too little time for the opposing team to make a comeback.

Didn’t happen this time. An interception from Central in the last few minutes cost them the state title. It would have been their third in a row.

I had to decide on one picture to represent the day. Something appropriate but raw. Something that showed the pain of losing, but also how far they’d come.  I chose this one for the front page.

See the photos that didn’t make the cut after the jump…

Which would you have chosen?

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Michael J. Copps, one of the five commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission, is proposing a change to broadcast licensing procedures that would apply a “public value test,” when considering license renewal, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Diversity in programming is suffering, minorities are underrepresented and local talent gets overlooked. In his words, American journalism is in “grave peril.” Copps believes broadcast journalism has strayed from what it once was and reforms may be in order. Read More

The flood of news about wikileaks is kind of hard to keep up with. The cables were released Sunday. U.S. politicians are asking that Wikileaks be designated a terror organization. In an interview with Forbes, Julian Assange announced his next leak (documents showing the inner workings of a major American Bank). Iran’s president  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  says “Ha Ha, very funny, Americans” and thinks the leaks are just a worldwide episode of Punk’d.

All of this non-stop Wikieaks excitement is almost overshadowing that face the cables are out there, on the internet, for anyone to read. Look at this post as your one-stop shop for where you can find the cables so you can focus more on finding what’s in them than all the other not as interesting stuff…like Interpol adding Assange to their online list of wanted fugitives.

So here are the places I’ve been reading/searching through them. I have the feeling stories will be coming from these for a while. Maybe you’ll be able to find something juicy before someone else does.

[UPDATE 11:48 a.m.]: The Guardian has created a twitter page specifically on coverage of the cables @GdnCables

[UPDATE Dec 3  2:26 a.m.] Found a site that allows you to do a text search on the cables here.

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