Monthly Archives: December 2004

“All the news that’s fit to blog”

The revolution promised by the Internet of turning people into producers of information, rather than merely being consumers of it, is coming true with the advent of the weblog or online journal. We no longer need to passively absorb content served up by the media barons as the technology now easily allows us all to publish content. Some bloggers from non-traditional media outlets are even gaining prominence as legitimate sources of fact and opinion.

Teasing out the issues with the relationship between weblogging and the mainstream media is explored in We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People for the People by respected Silicon valley commentator Dan Gillmor.

At the core of Gillmor’s thesis is that media is shifting from talking at the public and engaging in a conversation. Gillmor is hopeful that:

“The lines will blur between producers and consumers, changing the role

of both in ways we’re only beginning to grasp. The communication

network itself will be a medium for everyone’s voice, not just the few

who can afford to buy multimillion-dollar printing presses, launch

satellites, or win the government’s permission to squat on the public

airways.”

There are lots of potential impediments, including corporate and goverment gatekeepers seeking to undermine the surge of active and watchful netizens.

You will have to wait until I actually read the book before I comment on Gillmor’s prognosis. This could be sooner than I imagined as I have just downloaded a copy. The author has made a PDF version freely available online under a Creative Commons license (which I’ve written about previously, see “A new way of thinking about copyright”). Gillmor also took the unusal step of providing a draft of the document for public comment. Brave man indeed.

We have a few bloggers in New Zealand with a high profile, but I’ve yet to see anyone consistently influence the corporate media juggernaut. Maybe I’m so jaundiced, I can’t see the wood for the trees.

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