The embattled founder of the controversial website WikiLeaks was voted top newsmaker of the year by senior editors at Postmedia Network newspapers and canada.com.
While Julian Assange rated only fourth in an Ipsos-Reid poll of 1,044 Canadians, the informal survey of editors showed six out of 10 Postmedia publications felt Assange had affected profoundly how information is seen and delivered.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange
Photograph by: Paul Hackett/Reuters, National Post
“Assange’s organization indisputably demonstrated the emerging power of social media, while illustrating the risks governments run when they say one thing in private and another in public,” said Marlon Marshall, managing editor of the Regina Leader-Post.
“This was a game-changer in terms of citizen journalism, as well as marking a shift in the balance of power between government, big business and the collective citizenry via social media,” agreed Patricia Graham, editor-in-chief of the Vancouver Sun.
Disgraced former colonel Russell Williams, the one-time base commander of CFB Trenton whose bizarre criminality included the murders of two women, ranked second on the editors’ top newsmaker list for 2010.
The story, said Gerry Klein, Forum pages editor for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, “contained elements of horror. It was bizarre and unexpected. It wasn’t just the story of a serial killer and his victims, but the victims were particularly compelling and the killer a member of the establishment.”
Postmedia News senior editor Jack Branswell also named Williams “for the sheer scope of his betrayal of (the) service and the brutality and dichotomy of his personality. How did those two people exist in there?”