Conversely, whether in print or online, critics with experience, expertise and a sense of responsibility should be championed. Those guiding voices make an essential contribution, with respected critical approbation translating into financial backing for many institutions and projects, and new voices handed a megaphone.
Much has been said in recent years about the decline of the media profession as social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook circulate news before journalists even get a chance to put the nib of their pen to paper so to speak. So if the risks of conflict reporting are steadily getting higher yet the return or the presumed relevance of such reporting is rapidly declining in the face of around the clock tweeting and uploading - will we see a dearth of conflict reporters risking their lives to get the story?
With a digital-first generation growing up with no real interest in newspapers, their heritage or traditional brand allegiances, a paywall that is designed to stave off losses from a growing print decline could well eventually consign the journalism in both its offline and online arms to just a historic footnote on Wikipedia.
WikiLeaks are advocating their secrecy as a source of pride, as a discharge of their responsibilities, but in this case it was not enough. In this instance, the need for secrecy left Manning adrift at the very point when he needed firm guidance. 'Nathaniel', it seems, was not concerned enough in protecting Manning once they had got the secrets from him.
The anonymity of the internet at large brings with it the exciting positives of more discussion, more openness and, maybe most importantly, more honesty. The audience, hiding comfortably behind their online avatars, have no reason to feel mitigated or restrained. Increasingly, this leads to internet comment sections being used as a depositary for public anger and frustration.