Chapter 1: From Tom Paine to Blogs and Beyond reflects on the evolution that has occured from early forms of news/journalism up until now. The new media revolution/evolution is examined and accompanied with a brief historical analysis. For most of history newspapers have dominated as a means of conveying news and thought to the masses. I enjoyed reading the section on personal journalism which began with the muckrakers and set the stage for the Progressive Era. Though the Corporate Era was of most interest to me because it is the one we are currently living in. Lets face it, everything has become corporate now, so why not the corporatization of journalism. Through out history the economics of printing have reflected finances. Printing and news making generally favored big business and local monoplies because they could afford to do it.
This chapter also focused on Radio and Television. PS: I have always wanted to do a little work at a radio station and may persue it in the future. BUT: Historically, radio and television have lured the masses away from newspapers. Towards the end of the chapter Gillmor menitons a San Fransisco earthquake in the mid 1990s that resulted in people calling into a local radio station and doing on the spot reporting. I thought that was a pretty cool use of the open forum. Network news hit its peak in the 1960-1970s and was a jewel of the industry even though these big stations lost money because of expensive production. Local stations were a little bit better off because they had lower expenses. My favorite part of this chapter was when it got to the section on the internet, computers, and blogs. (I know I am an UBBER GEEK for saying that just now)
I could not believe that when BBS' (electronic bulletin boards) came out in the 1980s, they were the used often by radicals promoting propaganda and such things according to police. Gillmor proceeded to focus on the idea of open sourcing the news through the implementation of open source software. This movement was begun by Richard Stallman. One of the benefits of this type of software would be easy access to fix bugs and make corrections. This was an editorial function developed later by bloggers.
The only place left that Big Media contains an advantage is in investigative reporting even though the open source journalism philosophy may yield better journalism as a whole. Wikis and open forums such as Wikipedia are transparent sources. In regard to Gillmor's mention of blogs and 9-11 I have posted several links from Writing for the Internet (EL236).
Chapter 2: The Read-Write Web
Tim Berners, the creator of the web wanted it to be a read-write device. In the mid 1990s, Dave Wimer, the founder of UserLand Software showed Dan Gillmor an early version of a blog. Wimer was considered an early blog pioneer. Prior to this the web had been stricly geared towards reading information rather than posting and writing it. Origninally the web was simply read only. When I read about the "Edit This Page" button which Gillmor was shown, I was reminded immediately of Wikipedia. From this chapter we learn that the Internet is the best way to stay better informed because technology gives us so many choices.
I was interested in reading about when Gillmor was abroad teaching and wanted to know about the presidential elections, an event that was not largely covered in foreign country where he was at. Gillmor used the best source that he could in order to obtain up to date information about the events taking place in the US. He used the Internet, which he would later realize was a better source for an overall report than any TV news coverage he could have been watching at home (USA). For me Gillmor's story just adds to my defense of online journalism. News online is reliable, current, and provides the best ability to stay up to date with the click of a button.
The tools of grassroots journalists...to name a few.
1. E-mail Lists
2. Weblogs (Blogs)
3. Web Content Publishing Systems
4. Syndication Tools
5. Camera Equipped Mobile Phones
I wanted to personally elaborate on #5, which was camera equipped mobile phones. They are one of the best inventions ever. I have an LG camera phone through Verizon and I use it almost everyday. This summer it became particularly useful for me when I was writing about things on my blog that I just couldn't explain without a visual. In fact, 90% of the pictures on my blog came from my phone and 99% of the pictures that I take in general are with my phone. I even used it at the Morgan Spurlock lecture. When I go out and see something worth writing about, it is such a help when I know I need a picture. And the quality of those pictures is quite good as well. I just wanted to say my piece as a camera phone advocate.