The New York Times is considering setting up its own in-house version of WikiLeaks, according to editor Bill Keller.
Keller told Yahoo’s The Cutline blog that he is “looking at something along the lines” of Al Jazeera’s Transparency Unit, which was instrumental in the recent publication of the Palestine Papers by Al Jazeera and the Guardian.
“Nothing is nailed down”, according to Keller, but he has sketched out the idea behind the possible division:
A small group from computer-assisted reporting and interactive news, with advice from the investigative unit and the legal department, has been discussing options for creating a kind of EZ Pass lane for leakers.
The NYT was also one of five newspapers that had advanced access to WikiLeaks’ next release, the US embassy cables. It was subsequently revealed however that the NYT was forced to obtain its copy of the cable from the Guardian, having been cut out of the loop by WikiLeaks.
Given the difficulty Keller had in obtaining advanced access to the embassy cables, and the general risks of relying on organisations such as WikiLeaks, we may yet see many more national news organisations following suit and establishing their own sections to deal directly with leaks.