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BYOM -- Be Your Own Media

I realized I was getting a better overall report than anyone watching television, listening to the radio, or reading a newspaper in the United States. It was more complete, more varied. In effect, I'd rolled my own news.

It was a convergence of old and new media, but the newest component was my own tinkering to create my own news "product"--a compilation of the best material I could find. (Gillmor 24-25)

Dan Gillmor, in the first two chapters of his book We the Media, examines the new trends of grassroots journalism created by new media technology and its innovative applications.

In the passage above, he emphasizes the changes of those trends as the Web shifted from being a read-only to a read/write phenomenon. He explains that as he was gathering information over the Internet about the U.S. presidential elections for 2000 -- streaming-audio from a National Public Radio feed, news articles from The New York Times and other news organizations, and maps of the results of state polls -- he realized that he was making his own media.

In a culture where freedom of choice is heralded as one of the highest virtues, these new media continue to expand and thrive, and Gillmor seems to believe that they will continue to do so until at last citizens -- who were once known only as the news audience -- become participants in the key processes of journalism.

This new movement is certainly worth studying -- after all, it's curious that it encourages consumers to become producers, and vice-versa, as Gillmor points out elsewhere in this reading selection. Blogs, especially, encourage journalists to seek out and consume information provided by citizens, turning the traditions of journalism upside-down. The nagging wonder, of course, is what will result from this flip; what will be the consequences for journalism, journalists, citizens, and the communities, networks, and markets that they all share?

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