A Peek At “First Look”

printing press of the Tombstone Epitaph

The first printing press of the Tombstone Epitaph, Tombstone, Arizona.

Image credit: Cujo359

Glenn Greenwald posted an article today at his blog that is a response to a reader who had e-mailed him about concerns regarding the NSA documents and the journalism venture he intends to become a part of, First Look. I had not heard the name of this organization before, so that’s either news or a refresher for those of us who didn’t catch it the first time around.

Besides the name of the new organization, he noted:


  • First Look will be a nonprofit organization, designed, in his words, to “encourage, support and empower – rather than undermine, dilute and neuter – independent, adversarial journalists”. “.

  • Neither Greenwald nor the other journalists with whom he was discussing new news ventures, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, are partners in First Look, “in any legal or financial way”.

  • Laura Poitras has a complete copy of the NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden. In addition, other major news outlets have “tens of thousands” of those documents between them.


On the NSA documents, he wrote:

[I]n his Washington Post interview with Snowden last month, Bart Gellman noted “Snowden’s insistence, to this reporter and others, that he does not want the documents published in bulk.” From the start, Snowden indeed repeatedly insisted on that.

Anyone who demands that we “release all documents” – or even release large numbers in bulk – is demanding that we violate our agreement with our source, disregard the framework we created when he gave us the documents, jeopardize his interests in multiple ways, and subject him to far greater legal (and other) dangers. I find that demand to be unconscionable, and we will never, ever violate our agreement with him no matter how many people want us to.

Email exchange with reader over First Look and NSA reporting


There is not likely to be a document dump similar to the Wikileaks dump of the documents Chelsea (formerly PFC Bradley) Manning provided them. Some folks will be upset about that, I suppose, but I don’t see much good that will result from such a thing. Certainly, there’s nothing that could outweigh the fallout from that alternative.

Of course, there’s plenty of time for disillusionment, but I think the idea of First Look is one of the most exciting things to come along in journalism in years. If that $250 million in funding Greenwald mentions is treated as an endowment, it can support several journalists plus a staff of editors and researchers. With added support from readers and advertising, it could be considerably more.

There’s lots more. It’s a Glenn Greenwald column, after all. So grab a cup of coffee and head on over.

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About Cujo359
An engineer, computer programmer, and former defense worker who also does amateur theatre. Contact: my nom de ordinateur at earthlink.net

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