We the Media – Dan Gilmor
In his book ‘We the Media: Grassroots journalism by the People’, Dan Gilmor describes the development in the so called grassroots journalism. Gilmors goal is:
“[…]to persuade you that the collision of journalism and technology is having major consequences for three constituencies: journalists, newsmakers, and the audience.”
The book can roughly be divided into three parts. First Gilmor gives an overview of the developments in the new media area, leading up to now. The second part consists of an overview of the possibilities existing within the current new media. Not only does he give examples in which the opportunities offered by new media become clear, he also shows examples in which somethings didn’t work out quite the way it was expected. These cases can also be very useful for anyone wanting to participate in the new media developments so hopefully these pitfalls can be avoided. The last part of the book is dedicated to the future of new media. Gilmor doesn’t speculate too much. He is quite aware of the unexpected ways in which new media has developed in the last couple of years.
This book can be used as a handbook for anyone who is going to be working with new media. Which, after reading Gilmors book, is pretty much everyone. Journalism is going through some serious changes due to the new media. Not everyone is aware of these changes. Even those who are aware of the changes are not altogether willing to participate. After reading ‘We the Media’ however, no one will be able to deny the opportunities arising on the internet and the need to get involved.
Dan Gilmor has been working as a ‘traditional journalist’ for almost 25 years. He writes for newspapers and is widely respected for it. This book is easy to read and understandable for anyone. He tells about his own transformation from a traditional journalist to a more web 2.0-journalist. While writing the book, he put his often repeated phrase : ‘The readers know more than I do’, into practise.
He requested the help of his blogreaders in getting the information right, in writing about the information more valuable to his readers and in giving them the feeling they were part of a process. “My experience was, in a sense, a test of the next version of journalism. It proved workable, which was not surprising to me. I believe it can work for almost anyone.”
In the area concerning copyright-issues he is following his own advises as well. At the same time his book was published, he also made the book available online. It is nice to see he has applied his own tactics on himself. Instead of applying traditional copyright to his publication, he uses the Creative Commons Copyright in which some and not all rights are reserved.
The book shows many cases in which new media has played an important new role. Gilmor is very enthousiastic about the opportunities it offers and is showing his readers how to do it properly. After reading his chapter concerning blogs and its uses, you feel the need to set up your own blog immediately and wonder how you ever managed to survive without one. He absolutely believes in the future of the blog.