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November 20, 2005

We The Media (Chpt. 8)

Next Steps

"I didn't imagine that blogs and other tools would come along to make writing on the Web almost as easy as reading from it. So I won't try to predict the shape of the news business and how it will be practiced a decade from now." (158)

In this chapter, Gillmor really discussed the technology offered to bloggers on the World Wide Web. Society is changing in many ways, especially in the way news is being reported. Blogs are becoming more and more popular and more and more common. Services such as Google, weblogs, and other personal media are playing a very transformative role.

Gillmor talks about experiments that are really involving bloggers. He mentions Feed, an online magazine, and Kuro5hin, which gives the audience the opportunity to write and rank the stories and then it adds context and ideas as they discuss them.

Gillmor's assumptions about the future are based on two principles:
- a belief in basic jounalistic values, including accuracy, fairness, and ethical standards.
- it's relentless and unstoppable


Laws and Other Codes

Mass Media near the end of the 20th century was very organized. The decisions of what stories to cover fell to the Editors. News was retrieved from mostly offical sources. Reporters and Editor worked together to produce a trustworthy and interesting product which would be published in a newspaper, magazine, or broadcast on the radio or television.

"Technology and an increasing dissatisfaction with mass media have created the conditions for a new framework." (159)

To prove this Gillmor has pointed out laws to help us understand the technology and trends that have affected the relationship between journalism and technology.

Moore's Law
This was named after Gordon Moore, cofounder of the Intel company. It states that, "the density of transistors on a given piece of silicon will double every 18 to 25 months."

We use many computer devices each day: the microprocessors, also called microcontrollers, are in computers, handheld devices, alarm clocks, coffee makers, home thermostats, wristwatches, and automobiles.

"Not only are we embeddin brains into everything we touch, but we're adding memory to everything, too." (160)

All of these new invetions are complementing Grass Roots journalism. We use these electronics to get information quicker and easier.

Moore said, "It went further than I ever could have imagined." (160)

Metcalfe's Law
Was named after Bob Metcalfe, inventor of the Ethernet networking standard. Says that "the value of a communication network is the square of the number of nodes, or end-point connections." (160)

Ex. Growth of fax machines.
It takes more than one fax machine to have a network. The more fax machines there are, the more value that is created because there are so many people in the network that one can fax to.

Each internet-connected computer is a node. When billions or trillions of things are connected, it creates a very powerful system.

Reed's Law
Named after David Reed. States that groups themselves are nodes.

People conduct many-to-many, or few-to-few, communications. Not only one-to-one communications.

This law discusses the idea of groups factorial. "Factorial means that you take the number of groups, and every integer less than that number all the way back to one, and multiply all of those numbers together."

Howard Rheingold said, "The 15-year-olds today in Seoul and Helsinki, who are already adept at mobilizing media to their end, will be 25. And what they carry in their pockets will be thousands of times more powerful than what they have today." (161)


Creating the News

Non-journalists are using the internet to publish what they want. Gillmor discusses that "the tools of creation are now everywhere." People can actually create anything that they want. They can publish stories, songs, or life experiences and there's no editor to tell them not too. That's the thing with the web, there's no regulations. Printed newspaper has been checked and boiled down to mostly reliable information by the editor and the reporter. With weblogs, the writer and the editor are one in the same.

"The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that in mid-2003, slightly less than half of adult Internet users had used the Net to publish their thought, respond to others, post pictures, share files and otherwise contribute to the explosion of content available online." (162)

The Web is ideal for small-event coverage, however cannot compete with television for the coverage of big events.

"But how easy will it be to use the tools of creation?" (163)

Even though blogs are commonly used, they're still not available to everyone. Either not owning a computer, or not knowing how to use one is the cause for this. Gillmor feels that in the future blogs should be extremely easy to operate so that a huge number of people will be able to report, or else the promise of grassroots journalism won't be kept.

As we all know, reporting is more than just collecting data or observing an event. The roles of journalists will change as well. With blogs, there will be less stories to cover because there will me a huge increase in the number of reporters.


Sorting It Out

There is so much information out in the world that people could write about. There are constantly stories happening around us. Since everyone can weblog, there would be no organization to what information needs to be and should be covered. And what information is most important.

Gillmor gives examples of Big Media:

Google News is a big help organizing information. "The search engine crawls various new sites-designated by humans-and then machines take over to display all kinds of healines on a variety of subjects from politics to business to sports to entertainment and so on." (165)

Google Alerts This service lets users create keyword searches, the results of which are sent by email on a regular basis.
However, there are two serious drawbacks:
- the service didn't let you read the alerts in RSS(a file containing a list of the headlines and some or all of the text from the postings)
- a refusal to acknowledge news content from the sphere of grassroots journalism.

Newsbot Similar to Google News

NewsJunkie "It reorganizes news stories to rank those with the most new information at the tip and push those with repetitive information to the bottom, or filter them out entirely." (166)

"Mountains of data are being created every day by RSS fees and other structured information, and smart entrepreneurs and researchers are creating tools that I believe will become an integral part of tomorrow's news architecture." (167)

Dave Sifry created Technorati
in 2002. Through this he was able to track more than two million blogs, with thousands coming online everyday. The idea behind it is to link structure matters. "The service helps people search or browse for interesting or popular weblogs, breading news, and hot topics of conversation." (168)

Technorati can offer timeliness to its costumers. It's helpful to know when something was posted.


Probing APIs And Web Services

API - applications programming interface (how to hook one piece of software to another)

Software developement relies on APIs. Most blogging software also has APIs. With these, Google, Amazon, and Technorati are offering a way to get specific information out of the databases in a stuctured way. Their willingness to do this means that we can build, and learn new things with just a little bit of expertise.


Okay, But Whose "Information" Do You Trust?

Google along with Technorati is a reputation system. Gillmor suggests to Google his name. You will find informatin about him, his job, and his history. The more people linking to you, the more authority you have.


Dinosaurs and Dangers

We are definately changing into a new form of journalism. The strong foundation however will not want this change to occur and will fight to keep things the way they are. Change will take place no doubt especially with the availabilty and simplicity of blogs will revoutionize how we as citizens get our information. "One of the valuable artifacts of modern journalism is commitment-however poorly kept at times-to integrity." (173) Gillmor asks, "are traditional values compatible with this new medium?" (173)

Posted by AndrewLoNigro at November 20, 2005 08:12 PM

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Wonderful work today, Andy. I am still not sure about this math, but alas, I am an English major.

Posted by: Katie Aikins at November 21, 2005 01:54 PM

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