Wikileaks Panel Will Be Conference Keynote

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Online News Association conference for digital journalists will feature a Wikileaks panel during its conference in D.C. this month.

    Wikileaks was introduced to worldwide audience in late July after the organization dumped some 92,000 pages of classified documents from the U.S. war in Afghanistan online. In the wake of the incident, the Pentagon has squared off with Julian Assange, an Australian journalist who is often described as Wikileaks' founder but calls himself a member of its advisory board.

    According to the Wikileaks website, the organizationw as founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists and mathematicians with the help of U.S., Taiwanese, European, Australian and South African start-up technologists.

    CNN reported on October 17 that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted that the Wikileaks Afghanistan document dumps did not endanger the lives of any troops or reveal sensitive intelligence. A NATO official said that there has been no indication that Taliban figures have retaliated against Afghan personnel named in the released documents.

    Wikileaks' critics and supports do not line up so easliy as pro-Assange or pro-Gates. Some who support the war in Afghanistan support the open airing of information related to the war. War critics have questioned whether Assange's alleged hostility to any and all government secrets is safe or appropriate for the nation. Some journalists reject Wikileaks as any kind of journalism at all.

    Digital journalists have a special interest in Wikileaks as a force that could greatly influence the shape reporting to come.

    The keynote panel that marks the second day of the annual conference will take place on Saturday, Oct. 30. Panelists include Jim Michael, military reporter for USA Today; Brook Gladstone, managing editor of WNYC's "On the Media"; Gavin MacFadyen, BBC current affairs producer; and Clothilde Le Coz, free speech correspondent for PBS's Mediashift.

    The Online News Association includes reporters, producers, editors, bloggers, photographers, technologists and others who create news online.