WikiLeaks’s document dumps have been called everything from terrorism to unparalleled journalism. With past leaks, the value of the revealed documents was covered in tandem with the information in the documents. But the value debate seems to be taking a front seat with the release of hundreds of classified diplomatic cables this week.

The information in the cables is sometimes amusing (which world leader had botox treatments?) and sometimes potentially dangerous (most of the discussions about Iran). But should that danger outweigh the obligations of journalists to report the truth? The New York Times published (and continues to publish) stories about the cables. But alongside those reports, the Times issued a statement that outlined how the paper came to have the cables, and how they treated the information. Some names were redacted, the White House was offered a chance to comment and after much hand-wringing and internal discussion, the stories were printed.

The paper’s editor also took to the airwaves, speaking with NPR about the process.

This is all very exciting to journalists and news junkies who (like me) like to think about ethics in journalism and how different outlets and mediums can present information in different ways and generate different responses. The cables on WikiLeaks are raw. The information in the Times is processed, filtered and interpreted. Pundits will take that interpretation further. The range of the news media’s interpretations is on display, and it’s fascinating.

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