Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Future Of News? Dan Gillmor Launches Grassroots Journalism Into The Mainstream

"Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media's monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. Not content to accept the news as reported, these readers-turned-reporters are publishing in real time to a worldwide audience via the Internet. The impact of their work is just beginning to be felt by professional journalists and the newsmakers they cover. In We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, nationally known business and technology columnist Dan Gillmor tells the story of this emerging phenomenon, and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make and consume the news."

Though I am not enthusiastic about Dan's objective take on events as he reports in the introduction of this new book "... September 11, 2001, followed a similarly grim pattern. We watched--again and again--the awful events. Consumers of news learned the what about the attacks, thanks to the television networks that showed the horror so graphically. Then we learned some of the how and why as print publications and thoughtful broadcasters worked to bring depth to events that defied mere words. Journalists did some of their finest work and made me proud to be one of them."

As a matter of fact I would like to point out clearly that we DID NOT ever learn about the facts, and never arrived at knowing the HOW and WHY of it, and mostly because of the very unquestioning and very uncritical role of the US news press of which Dan so happily celebrates his belonging.

But outside of this, which is not minor, he has certainly some good points to brag about. He says: "But something else, something profound, was happening this time around: news was being produced by regular people who had something to say and show, and not solely by the "official" news organizations that had traditionally decided how the first draft of history would look. This time, the first draft of history was being written, in part, by the former audience. It was possible--it was inevitable--because of new publishing tools available on the Internet. Another kind of reporting emerged during those appalling hours and days. Via emails, mailing lists, chat groups, personal web journals--all nonstandard news sources--we received valuable context that the major American media couldn't, or wouldn't, provide.
We were witnessing--and in many cases were part of--the future of news."

This is certainly much truer. But one wonders what Dan and other so-called free and open-minded journalists were really reading at the time of those events.



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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, August 10 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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