Over the last decade developments like the Internet, and now WikiLeaks, have sent the American press cruising into uncharted waters. As journalists scramble to hold on to scraps of the classic reporting model, a heated discussion of ethics and objectivity in this new media landscape has emerged. Watching it all and dissecting this tumultuous period in American journalism is NYU Professor Jay Rosen, serving as a self-described “psychoanalyst of the American press” through his blog PressThink. In this Nation Conversation, Rosen offers insight into the inner conflicts of the American media.
According to Rosen, Karl Marx defined a revolution as a moment when the means of production changes hands. If you accept this definition, he argues, then the Internet has truly created a revolution for the American press. Not only has the Internet put the powers of production in the hands of the audience, but it has also drastically increased participation in a previously exclusive profession.
On top of all that, nobody quite knows what to make of WikiLeaks. The key to the confusion, he says, is that the news organization is stateless. While major media outlets like the New York Times are subject to US laws and can be dragged into court, where do you go to subpoena WikiLeaks?