We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People

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"O'Reilly Media, Inc.", Jan 24, 2006 - Social Science - 336 pages
6 Reviews

"We the Media, has become something of a bible for those who believe the online medium will change journalism for the better." -Financial Times

Big Media has lost its monopoly on the news, thanks to the Internet. Now that it's possible to publish in real time to a worldwide audience, a new breed of grassroots journalists are taking the news into their own hands. Armed with laptops, cell phones, and digital cameras, these readers-turned-reporters are transforming the news from a lecture into a conversation. In We the Media, nationally acclaimed newspaper columnist and blogger Dan Gillmor tells the story of this emerging phenomenon and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make--and consume--the news.

Gillmor shows how anyone can produce the news, using personal blogs, Internet chat groups, email, and a host of other tools. He sends a wake-up call tonewsmakers-politicians, business executives, celebrities-and the marketers and PR flacks who promote them. He explains how to successfully play by the rules of this new era and shift from "control" to "engagement." And he makes a strong case to his fell journalists that, in the face of a plethora of Internet-fueled news vehicles, they must change or become irrelevant.

Journalism in the 21st century will be fundamentally different from the Big Media oligarchy that prevails today. We the Media casts light on the future of journalism, and invites us all to be part of it.

Dan Gillmor is founder of Grassroots Media Inc., a project aimed at enabling grassroots journalism and expanding its reach. The company's first launch is Bayosphere.com, a site "of, by, and for the San Francisco Bay Area."

Dan Gillmor is the founder of the Center for Citizen Media, a project to enable and expand reach of grassroots media. From 1994-2004, Gillmor was a columnist at the San Jose Mercury News, Silicon Valley's daily newspaper, and wrote a weblog for SiliconValley.com. He joined the Mercury News after six years with the Detroit Free Press. Before that, he was with the Kansas City Times and several newspapers in Vermont. He has won or shared in several regional and national journalism awards. Before becoming a journalist he played music professionally for seven years.


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In We the Media, Dan Gillmor discusses the impact of journalism by the people. Technology of today has allowed us to be writers in various ways especially via the powerful Internet. We are able to actively participate in discussion of the news through blogs, forums, chat groups, and email. Gillmor believes in the capability of people to make news today because current technology has encouraged and welcomed our participation. The internet has become a powerful media tool by allowing the transmission of information from people. However, there are also dangers associated with this freedom which he discusses in this book.
Some examples of his concerns are his reference to copyright infringement with peer-to-peer networks, the possible spread of misinformation, public-private concerns, and open source politics. Despite the disadvantages, Gillmor believes that the internet gives everyone a chance to voice their opinions once they have the necessary connection tools.
We the Media was interesting to me because I had never thought of us, the citizens, as ?writers? in Gillmor?s terminology. Technology has encouraged innovation and expression in a way that includes the broad public. All participants are able to express themselves via words thus allowing for an active and informed community which also aids in the promotion of democracy.
Gillmor looks at the internet in a realistic way by considering these consequences and the intentions of citizens, journalists, and businesses. His approach is pragmatic in that it considers these political, economic, and social perspectives. Businesses and journalists would seek to benefit from the internet for monetary reasons just as the public seeks to benefit by expression of opinion. The internet serves various purposes and they many are relevant to the values of today.
Gillmor?s book touched on many topics relevant to the issues of today and he continuously focused on the importance of grassroots journalism. Anyone who is seeking to gain an understanding of the benefits of grassroots journalism as well as understand the concerns regarding a public domain should definitely read this book.


From Tom Paine to Blogs and Beyond
The ReadWrite Web
The Gates Come Down
Newsmakers Turn the Tables
The Consent of the Governed
Professional Journalists Join the Conversation
The Former Audience Joins the Party
Next Steps
The Empires Strike Back
Making Our Own News
Epilogue and Acknowledgments
Web Site Directory
About the Author

Trolls Spin and the Boundaries of Trust
Here Come the Judges and Lawyers

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