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Wikileaks' chief Julian Assange will write a monthly column for Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet as part of his bid for Swedish legal protections. Assange met with Aftonbladet's Chief Director, Jan Helin, to discuss the upcoming role.  (Source: Aftonbladet)

One of the oldest tabloids, Aftonbladet was also among the first to jump online and remains one of the largest internet sites in Europe.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Tabloid has been running strong since 1830 -- was among first worldwide to adopt internet publishing

Embroiled in an international politics controversy and owner of one the internet's most divisive properties, what's a man to do?  Well, if you're Julian Assange, founder and chief of whistleblowing site Wikileaks, the answer is apparently "write for a tabloid".

The Australian native who rose to infamy as a hacker in the late 1980s and early 1990s, announced in a Saturday interview [Swedish] with Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet that he would be joining the staff.  A translation of the interview can be found here on Mathaba.

In the interview, when asked what is column will be about, Assange comments, "About press issues and about what's happening around the world. There might be some scoops."

Asked how frequently he will write, he replies, "Once a month."

Assange has worked with and written content for a number of high profile publications, including The New York Times (U.S. newspaper), The Guardian (British newspaper), and Der Spiegel (German magazine), but has never been a regular columnist.  Nonetheless he considers himself a standards bearer of the journalistic mantle, speaking at many press events about Wikileaks and whistleblowing journalism.

If one picked a tabloid to write for, they'd be hard pressed to find one more storied than Aftonbladet.  The publication was founded in 1830 by Lars Johan Hierta.  In its early days it was banned and renamed 26 times by Sweden's king before he finally gave up and consented to its publication.

The publication was among the first tabloids worldwide to jump online, making the transition in 1994.  It is consistently ranked among the top five Swedish websites in traffic, along with Swedish-founded torrent-giant The Pirate Bay.

There's a couple of potential reasons why Assange might pick to write for Aftonbladet other than merely a love for tabloid journalism.  Wikileaks operates a number of servers in Sweden and is currently seeking a license to get full journalistic protections.  An official column in Aftonbladet could help its case. 

Also, Wikileaks is reportedly very cash strapped and Assange's payments could offset his costly lifestyle, which features a great deal of travel.  Assange in the interview stated, "We need more money. We're getting more materials than we can handle today. We need to hire more help. We've received $1 million in donations so far this year but it's not enough."

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By deltaend on 8/16/2010 1:43:30 AM , Rating: 0
We all knew that since all the religions were already started, Julian started an ideological movement for money instead. He also lives a lavish lifestyle funded entirely by his website and the poor man needs more donations if he is going to continue to live it.

They have no building, so everyone works out of their location. Due to the speed and popularity of their site, I can pretty accurately estimate the amount of servers they have, so let’s find out how much money they actually make.

5 person staff + 10 server setup (assumed)

Servers first:
$65/server/month for bandwidth and colo ($650)
$20/server/month parts fund ($200)
Total cost: $850/month ($10,200/year)

5 person staff (including Julian)
($1,000,000 - $10,200)/5 = $197,960 per person

Yep, poor Julian only made $198k this year (assuming everyone gets paid evenly which I doubt). Better give him more money so he can cause more chaos (and so he doesn’t need to sell one of his sports cars).

RE: Julian
By 2uantuM on 8/16/2010 9:30:40 AM , Rating: 2
$650 a month for the bandwidth alone is unrealistic for a site like wikilinks, nevermind the colo space and power.

RE: Julian
By 2uantuM on 8/16/2010 9:30:57 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Julian
By tastyratz on 8/16/2010 12:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
so you are saying 1 million is realistic?
Even if it required 10 fold in operating cost that still leaves 900k roughly unspoken for. I wouldn't exactly call it unspoken for though...

Perhaps someone should blow the whistle on the wikileaks books?

RE: Julian
By deltaend on 8/17/2010 3:22:49 AM , Rating: 2
Really? We have dedicated 100mbps connections with unlimited bandwidth on all of our servers in the USA at a cost to us of $55/U. That's all inclusive colo and includes 16 IPs. I added $10/server/U in my estimate just to be safe.

RE: Julian
By Hare on 8/16/2010 1:12:49 PM , Rating: 1
That's pretty childish. Go to and see the latest interview to get a bit better perspective than just reading these articles (and comments by ignorant but vocal groups).

RE: Julian
By majBUZZ on 8/16/2010 1:47:05 PM , Rating: 3
maybe someone will leak his earning now only if there was some soft of website where you could do that, kinda ironic.

RE: Julian
By ipay on 8/16/2010 2:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know how much Julian Assange makes, but I'm not volunteering for his job. First releasing the video footage of a US helicopter shooting unarmed Iraqis; then publishing classified papers on the Afghan war. Good for him, but the danger of retaliation is too high.

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