News raced around the world late Sunday into Monday about the publication of tens of thousands of secret military documents pertaining to the NATO-led war in Afghanistan.

The archives, posted collectively as the The Afghan War Diary on the donor-funded WikiLeaks’ website, offered a unique perspective on the war that is reportedly grimmer than how the Pentagon has often portrayed it.

WikiLeaks most recently garnered international attention when it published a controversial video three months ago that reportedly showed a 2007 American helicopter attack in Baghdad. A dozen people, including two Reuters journalists, were killed.

This time, however, the site gave the New York Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel access to the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents spanning six years several weeks ago on the condition they do not report on the materials before Sunday, the Times indicated in a story.

However, perhaps more important than what the documents included was how the whistle-blowing site, WikiLeaks, partnered with professional media partners to legitimize and analyze the pages of information.

The Times reports that the documents indicate “the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001” despite the nearly $300 billion spent on the war.

“The archive is a vivid reminder that the Afghan conflict until recently was a second-class war, with money, troops and attention lavished on Iraq while soldiers and Marines lamented that the Afghans they were training were not being paid,” the Times reported.

Through the partnership, the publications were able to offer perspective that raw data is unable to. For example, the Times reported that while the “documents do not contradict official accounts of the war,” they showed that the American military made misleading public statements in some cases.

The Times also was able to offer perspective on what the documents were lacking, specifically: “The archive is clearly an incomplete record of the war. It is missing many references to seminal events and does not include more highly classified information. The documents also do not cover events in 2010, when the influx of more troops into Afghanistan began and a new counterinsurgency strategy took hold.”

Not surprisingly, many governments, including the United States, criticized the release.

However, the way WikiLeaks opted to break the story is important and ground-breaking – in many ways.

In addition to further legitimizing the data, the site demonstrated how beneficial such a partnership could be when professional journalists and members of the public come together to share information.

As newsroom staffs continue to shrink, assistance from outside of news organizations are growing more critical – to both the survival of the practice of journalism and the very democracy on which this nation has been built. This story demonstrates that the public can – and should – contribute more than just photos of wild weather, but also of potential government failings. It is up to the press across America to encourage that.

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Ex-half-term Gov. Sarah Palin has a problem. She has a problem admitting that she does not know everything — and that will ultimately lead to her collapse.

Her unfounded arrogance has gotten her into more trouble and instead of simply acknowledging her mistake, she did what she always does — blame the media.  And guess what — except for the dwindling percentage of her far right-wing supporters who hang on her every word. She got called out again and then predictably cried victim, again.

Last week, the former Republican vice presidential hopeful tweeted:

Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate

Unfortunately refudiate is not a word, despite the fact she said it on FOX’s “Hanity” as well as in the tweet she took down after folks began to criticize her.

She then reworked the same tweet three times, according to a report (complete with screen captures) published on Gawker until she arrived at a defensive tweet published on July 18:

“Refudiate,” “misunderestimate,” “wee-wee’d up.” English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it.”

If Palin had simply acknowledged her mistake, she would not have received the wide-scale attention that she did — and could have likely avoided the attention similar to what she suffered when she couldn’t define the Bush Doctrine, or offer the name of a newspaper she reads regularly during relatively easy interviews on the presidential campaign trail two years ago.

Perhaps, if the former governor was known for her linguistic abilities, or background in the language, she would have been able to explain her gaffe away as she did — but she’s just the opposite. The image that she created for herself is that of a rural soccer mom, not an English literary scholar.

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Facebook has become just another part of getting the story in newsrooms across America.

I have searched for — and studied — the pages of dozens of people (both victims and the accused) for a handful of prominent news organizations in the past few years.

However, as the practice of integrating social networks into the journalistic routine, the question every reporter must ask becomes more apparent and pronounced: What should the role of this technology be in our day-to-day responsibilities?

You can read my full analysis, and find a link to the views’ other professionals here.

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