We The Media by Dan Gillmor

Dan Gillmor’s book, We the Media, opens with a history of the Internet and journalism, and how the two have affected each other since the Internet’s creation. He refers to figures including Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson and how they played key roles in the development of the press, and discusses how 9/11 was a catalyst for the blogosphere.

In chapter two, Gillmor discusses blogging: what it is, and how it allows anyone to become a journalist and express their voice to large audiences online. He then talks about wikis, and the purpose of sharing information over the web.

In chapter three, Gillmor talks about the responsibility of bloggers, and how they play a key role in dispersing news that is often overlooked by “authoritative” news agencies. He talks about privacy and Bush’s data mining program after 9/11, as well as the idea that the media must move with the public, not against it.

Gillmor discusses the transition from speaking to the public to listening to the public in chapter four. He talks about how companies are using bogs as a form of public relations: to inform customers of what’s going on within. The interactivity between companies and their customers is what makes blogging such a popular force.

In chapter five, Gillmor talks about the importance of blogging during government campaigns. Today public officials must utilize the Internet to maintain and supportive base, as well as raise funds.

Chapter six brings up a familiar point from chapter four: the interactivity of the web. In an analysis of BBC’s ICAN project, BBC clients were able to actively participate and make their voices heard. Gillmor goes on to question today’s education of journalist and even wonders if a degree really holds any weight anymore.

Chapter seven discusses the role of the citizen journalist, and the increasing trend of people getting their news somewhere other than large news networks on a daily basis.  As technology use heightens and the ability for anyone to become a journalist, Gillmor notes that blogging will possibly become a trusted news source in the future, as it already has for many people.

In chapter eight, Gillmor talks about new technology and the future of online journalism.  Websites such as Google and Yahoo have define a new wave of search engines, since searching for news can be far more specific.  Gillmor points out that large news networks must use technology and recognize the changes in today’s media environment in order to be successful.

Chapter nine considers some technological aspects of journalism such as Photoshop that allow for unique editing, and appearances that print journalism isn’t capable of.  Gillmor then discusses the concept that many Internet users can take on an anonymous voice or create false identities, so readers must consider the reliability of the source.  

In chapter ten Gillmor talks about libel on the Internet, which comes from the idea that many bloggers are not credible journalists.  Because many of these people are not familiar with professional codes of journalism ethics, they can’t see that a lot of their news/opinions are libelous.  Gillmor also points out that since the Internet is a global product, there is no form of authority or control.  

Chapter eleven describes some issues with privacy and copyright infringement on the Internet.  Gillmor points to cookies as invasions of privacy, since they track what’s on a computer, or the fact that file-sharing can lead to copyright infringement.  There are many citizen rights challenged with the use of the Internet, and these points are often debated worldwide.  

In chapter twelve, Gillmor leaves the reader with his concluding thoughts about journalism and where the industry is heading.  He believes the Internet should be used to educate people and there are many great things to learn and analyze.  However, it is also important to use the Internet very cautiously since there is room for error, and incorrect usage can easily get out of hand and take journalism in a direction it was never intended to go in.

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