We the Media

According Dan Gillmor, “We the Media,” Journalism has always been an intricate part of American society. From the Federalist’s papers and famous pamphleteers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine in the 18th century to the emergence of Newspapers, Radio and Television, Americans have always been exposed to the news. By the 20th century journalism had evolved into a big business where corporations owned multiple stations and newspapers. This new ownership of the media had both negative and positive impacts on journalism. On one hand the quality of local news was diminished, however consolidation made it easier for news to have more of a focus and improvements in the field of investigative journalism. As the evolution of the media continued the invention of personal computers and the internet in the 1980’s forever changed the playing field. The ability for people with no computer background to create weblogs was made easier by founder of UserLand Soft- ware, Dave Winer, in mid 1999. This made it possible for just about anyone with computer and internet access to write news and opinion pieces. Gillmor states “To understand the evolution of tomorrow’s news, we need to understand the technologies that are making it possible.” According to Gillmor, weblogs are like online journals that are used to express the views, interests, and concerns of the publisher and allows for audience or reader interaction through comments. The beauty of weblogs when in comes to Journalism is the ability to create conversation between readers and other bloggers. Short messaging services or SMS have reinvented the headlines. Text messages has become an essential part modern communication that has the potential to take journalism to new innovative heights. Along with the ability to send SMS cell phones are increasingly evolving into mobile digital and video camera with the capability of sending images straight to the web or multiple sources. The possibilities for journalistic use of such devices are endless. An even more exciting development, Gillmor emphasizes, is the creation of RSS or really simple syndication, which allows readers of blogs and other websites to have their computers automatically retrieve content they care about. The ability for ordinary citizens to become directly involved in the production of news has expanded with the use of blogs and the internet. News makers are no longer able to manufacture the news they now face the possibility of readers and viewers voicing their opinions both positive or negative instantly. Even those in positions of authority and in the public eye must now deal with the potential of their every move being captured by just about anyone they encounter. With new software continuously being created not only are the way in which information is being shared changing but also the way we shop and compare products. The ease of which anyone can spew information over the internet has its dangers which makes fact checking and accuracy paramount but the ways in which news has evolved is both exciting and innovative.

We the Media Continued:

Gillmor elaborates on the new and innovative ways bloggers are expanding the ways in which news is told and distributed. No longer is the ” top-down” method of the  major media organizations acceptable, readers want more first hand accounts of the events that are reported in the news. I think he makes valid arguments in reference to how fast technology is transforming the media and news business and think it would be wise and extremely beneficial for those in the journalism profession t o take note while working to incorporate these new methods of reporting and consuming the news. However the rules of the game remain the same, just as truthfulness and accuracy are paramount to great journalism the same level of journalistic integrity is needed in the online field. The most important thing to take away from this book is that the fast pace of which technology is allowing the ways in which we communicate  to evolve is a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future. Journalists need to take advantage of the possibilities that are available and instead of ignoring or trying to discredit those who blog, they should try to engage with and understand not only the bloggers but the readers who follow them


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