The idea that companies can buy people out of stories gets in the way of reporting.

Martin Smith, Producer at PBS’ Frontline, discussing his difficulty reporting on the relationship between Wikileaks and the media because many central players at different news organizations have optioned their stories to film studies.

For example, via the Atlantic Wire:

  • Guardian reporters David Leigh and Luke Harding sold rights to their book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy to DreamWorks
  • Raffi Khatchadourian embedded with Assange for a New Yorker profile  and sold rights to HBO and the BBC which will release a documentary by Inside Job director and Oscar winner Charles Ferguson. 
  • Bill Keller sold his life rights to a production company led by another Oscar winner, Mark Boal, writer/producer of Hurt Locker,after he wrote about his dealings with Assange.

Financial Times, Journalists cash in on WikiLeaks rights scramble (subscription required so if you want to read the original, Google the title and back door in that way, or hit the Atlantic Wire link above).

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