Another Kind of Tip Jar


The recent surge in hyperlocal media has just met the WikiLeaks era. The new website localeaks is an interesting experiment described by Audrey Watters as "A Drop-Box for Anonymous Tips to 1400 U.S. Newspapers":

Although the mission of WikiLeaks is to "open governments," it's done quite a lot to make us think about how to open journalism as well. We've seen a number of new whistleblower sites crop up—OpenLeaks and Rospil, for example—as well as major news organizations—Al Jazeera, and perhaps even The New York Times—investigate ways to facilitate more whistle-blowing and leaking.

But why wait for local newspapers to roll out their own anonymous tips pipeline when a project from CUNY Graduate School's Entrepreneurial Journalism program has designed just that thing.

Using Localeaks, you can send an anonymous tip, including a file, to over 1400 newspapers in the U.S. through one online form. Choose your state. Choose the newspaper. Enter your information and submit your anonymous tip.

Bonus reading: "After the Newspaper," from early 2009, in which I speculated about "local equivalents [of WikiLeaks] appearing in the future."

Via Jeff Jarvis, who also shares a funny tidbit from Davos: "Sad irony: the session on transparency was off-the-record."

NEXT: Porkers of the Month for January 2011

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  1. The various states’ attorneys and prosecutors would like localeaks to hold on to ip records ad infinitum.

    Also, that new comments disclaimer is aimed at me, isn’t it?

    1. No, me! It’s aimed at ME!!

      But really, I hope you, and you know who you are, are happy now.

    2. It seems fairly commonsense to me that each leak site should only very loosely be connected with others, and should only deal directly with extrajudicial leaks, to minimize the risk that their own government would have cause to screw with them. Now, in the case of superpowers, that would probably be insufficient — you’d need to be located in hostile territory instead. But for local stuff, it would seem to work.

      1. It seems fairly commonsense to me that each leak site should only very loosely be connected with others…


  2. Just the tip.

  3. I have atip for you, Jesse: cut back on citing your own work

    1. Max, do you have any tips for us about autobukkake?

      1. My tongue makes a great clean-up towel.

    2. Off topic, uncivil. I declare you unclean and anathema!

  4. I doubt this is going to work, because a lot of local newspaper depend on public notice ad money. They won’t bite the hand that feeds them.

  5. Is the disclaimer there because of that guy who’s not a child molester or sheepfucker? It’s a real downer.

    1. I must say, Warty, I find Reason’s lack of transparency to be most distressing.

    2. lambs

  6. This could end up being very interesting. How many people have said “there is some funky shit going on in my company/government office/etc but I don’t think I want to go down to the local paper in person and tell somebody about it”? I suppose they could write a letter, but this idea is so much simpler.

    1. This comment is civil and on-topic. It may stand.

      1. Your attempts to judge the civility and topicality of comments are uncivil and hurt people’s feelings. Stop or you will be banned.

        1. Nice try, but I was vaguely and indirectly implied to be the Arbiter of Civility and Relevance in some other thread. Also, I got an e-mail from a former minister of the Nigerian government informing me of my new role.

        2. By the way, you and I are apparently one pizza thread away from being banned for life from the Internet.

          1. Chicago deep dish pizza sucks.

            1. Not as much as cardboard splattered with ketchup.

              1. I amuses me beyond words that you would accuse the Napoli-style pizza of having bad sauce, while implying that the Pizzeria Uno shit has good sauce.


                1. Typical of you to imply that some chain restaurant represents the glory that is deep-dish pizza, while vaguely citing back to Italy for your disgusting, two-dimensional gruel. Forget it. True Italians are mocking your Italian-American pretensions, all while grabbing your mother’s ass as she walks down the streets of Naples.

                  1. Shut up, the both of you. Why don’t you greasy fucking guineas go tanning or something?

                    1. Who the fuck are you calling a guinea? I’m MacKraut, asswipe.

                    2. I’ll tan after work. Right now I want to eat some scungilli.

                  2. Have you ever had “pizza” in Italy, ProL? I have. You’ve had pizza in Chicago and (snicker) Florida. Congratulations.

                    1. Where, at the Pizza Hit in Napoli?

                    2. Hut. Sorry.

                      Are we allowed to correct errors anymore, or is that off-topic?

                    3. See what happens when you eat shitty pizza? You get stupid.

                    4. I believe congratulations in this context is spelled with a D.

                    5. If he’s German, then it’s Pizza Hun.

                    6. Wearing our Pickelhauben?

                    7. References to Spaceballs is exactly the kind of thing that disclaimer was designed to halt.

                    8. I thought such references were ipso facto relevant.

            2. “Chicago deep dish pizza sucks.”

              I saw them making it during the NFC playoff game. I wanted to vomit.

            3. There is nothing inherently Italian or “Chicago” about deep dish pizza, or pizza in general. Fuckers didn’t even have tomatoes until the Indians gave it to them.

              And so-called Hawaiian pizza is from Canada.

              1. It bothers me that the Romans didn’t have tomatoes. Next time-traveling trip, I intend to correct that.

  7. Newspapers are already actively not reporting on crimes endorsed on their editorial pages (redevelopment), and whitewashing crimes commited by their favorite sources (government employees). There is nothing left to leak. Newspapers already know all the good stories just choose not to report on them.

    1. The media refusing to attack established institutions for their sins is a major part of the problems we face in politics and culture today.

      1. On-topic, uncivil. Delete.

        1. Oh, crap, you’re right.

      2. The logical next step, I figure, is an operation like this that doesn’t limit itself to newspapers but also includes locally oriented blogs & similar sites.

        1. Maybe so. I figure the best hope is the trend we see with blogs, etc.

          I wasn’t lumping you guys in with “media”, of course. You criticize institutions all the time!

  8. I have mixed feelings about this. Publishing a leaked document is one thing, passing on unverified “tips” is something else. A document at least has some verifiable aspects to it, even a scan. The emails Wikileaks published were not anonymous…they were signed, and the officials could (and sometimes did) deny writing them. Passing on anonymous rumors is just, well, gossiping.

    If I had any faith that newspapers would make any effort to fact-check before publishing, I might have a different opinion.

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