Wikileaks, water buffaloes & student protests

The scene outside the gates at the University of Sri Jayawardanepura in Sri Lanka.

It was a busy first day of lecturing today — a day that began with talking to a small group of working Sri Lankan journalists about interviewing.   But, what everyone really wanted to talk about was Wikileaks and the impact of Julian Assange’s efforts on the future of journalism.

There has been much written in the local media here about Wikileaks and the stories produced in the aftermath of the huge document dump.  Much of the analysis has been fairly critical of the policies of the U.S. government.

One journalist asked about the changing lines between public and private.  We talked a little bit about the tension between governments looking to keep secrets and journalists looking to pull back the veil of secrecy.   I also spoke about the ethical considerations of journalists and the balancing act between the desire to provide a free flow of information and the quest to not do harm — a concern that is very real in this part of the world.

An interesting conversation all-around.

In the afternoon I spoke to a group of students the University of Sri Jayawardanepura about the future of citizen journalism — as students and monks protested outside the university gates.  My advice was simple, shoot photos and video and upload to the web.  And, do it now!

The drive to the university was an adventure — water buffalo wandered some streets but we were able to succesfully avoid them.

More to come….


About journalismprof

Steve joined the journalism faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in August 2007 and has been working to incorporate multimedia across the curriculum. Since arriving at UMass, Steve has developed three courses modeled after his multimedia journalism course. The courses allow students to work in teams in a newsroom-like environment where they work on packages -- using video, audio and photos to tell stories. He is also working with students on developing, a news Web site staffed completely by students. Steve has more than 25 years of experience as an editor and reporter for print and online publications, including 10 as an editor at He also edits part-time for with the NFL and college football network.
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One Response to Wikileaks, water buffaloes & student protests

  1. Indulekha says:

    Thank you for that insightful session on journalism this morning! You know, I wanted to ask that Wikileaks question from you, since the time I read your articles last night :)) The Wikileaks discussion was definitely interesting and the feedback and opinions of my own fellow journalists made me think on various angles.

    So… Did those Uni students shoot the protest and upload?

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