It is time that Big Media’s monopoly is dismantled;
It is time that grassroots journalists are joining in the conversation;
Various innovative online technologies can make this conversation happen.
For grassroots journalists, what will be the most powerful gadget in the toolkit?
In his book We the Media: Grassroots, Journalism by the People, For the People, Dan Gillmor discusses about journalism’s transformation from a 20th century mass media structure to something profoundly more grassroots and democratic. Gillmor asserts that “Tomorrow’s news reporting and production will be more of a conversation, or a seminar.” People who lead this infinite conversation, as he predicts, will be “grassroots journalists”, those who turned from readers to reporters publishing in real time to audience via the Internet.
Gillmor lays out a list of new technology tools that grassroots journalists love to use, including email, forum, weblog, WIKI, SMS, P2P, RSS and other innovations allowing them to search for, organize and showcase information they’ve discovered. While as a pioneer and popular weblog writer himself, Gillmor lays greater stress on how weblog creates an online ecosystem where anyone can publish and read, get feedback comments and audience discussions. The bloggers can either offer punditry in specialized areas or touch on gamut of topics and styles. To Gillmor, the best individual blogs are written by human beings with genuine human passion. He also quotes from Jay Rosen to position the role of blog in journalism:” Blogs are an extremely democratic form of journalism.”
Gillmor expatiates on how blog can influence business entities and celebrities in the book. However, being a previous professional reporter and an enthusiastic blogger myself, I’m more interested in the following issues: will blog become a key constituent that redefines who journalists are? Will blog take place of Big Media and reshape our news reporting? Luckily, Gillmor elaborates some directions for us with a bunch of case studies.