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After the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, his lawyer was quick to characterize it as an assault against the rights of journalists all over the world who seek to uncover secrets.Does WikiLeaks do journalism, or is it something else?The thousands of memos, cables and other documents about U.S. war efforts revealed when Assange allegedly conspired with Chelsea Manning to break into a Pentagon computer took WikiLeaks to another level.WikiLeaks was considered a new type of news organization, fueled by the power of the internet and democratization of information.WikiLeaks has been an influence in two positive trends for journalism over the past decade, says Lisa Lynch, a journalism professor at Drew University who has written about the organization.Since WikiLeaks was often willing to work with traditional outlets in how it released data, it encouraged news organizations to cooperate more in chasing stories.Certainly Assange, a prickly personality who may never be forgiven by many Democrats for WikiLeaks' role in the 2016 election, doesn't cut a sympathetic figure.Boardman considers the U.S. government's case against Assange, as it is now outlined, as narrowly based upon his actions with Manning and thus not threatening to journalists.
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