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The Big Screen: The Impact of WikiLeaks

by Stephen Becker 17 Oct 2013 8:20 AM

This week, SMU global communications professor Nina Flournoy joins us to talk about what The Fifth Estate has to say about the power of information worldwide.


Before we get to this week’s show: In case you missed it, Dallas Morning News movie critic Chris Vognar and I will still be talking movies each week, just in a more time-friendly package. And speaking of time: If you’re used to hearing The Big Screen at 3 p.m. on Friday, please be sure to listen for it in its new home: 8:20 a.m. and 6:20 a.m. Thursdays on KERA.

OK, on to this week.

As a couple of journalism nerds, Chris and I couldn’t resist taking a look at The Fifth Estate, which tells the story of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. You might remember the site making big news back in 2010 for releasing a quarter-million classified American diplomatic cables.

The film explores how information is used worldwide. And we thought Nina Flournoy would be the perfect person to see the movie with. She teaches a course in global communications at SMU and took her students to an advance screening.

“The main thing, initially, that they wanted to talk about was Julian Assange and how he was portrayed as a communications outlaw who is trying to shake things up,” she tells us. “And so they liked him. But then he becomes reckless and more irresponsible … and so there was a lot of controversy, in our class at least, about whether or not he was too irresponsible, whether or not this was something that is a good turn of events in communications today, or if it could actually lead to keeping information away from the public.

Be sure to subscribe to The Big Screen on iTunes. Stream this week’s episode below or download it.