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We the Media: Chapter 3

Chapter 3: The Gates Come Down
In this chapter Gillmor discusses the first real impact of weblogs on the news. I was interested in the section that talked about the rascist incident with Trent Lott and how online journalists really publicized the scandal opposed to main-stream media that seemed unintersted with the story and quickly swept it under the rug. It was in fact online chatter and expressed outrage that caused Big Media as well as the president to take notice and address the issue. Blogger Joshua Marshall was one of the early people to sound off about Lott's statement online.

A very important point that Gillmor makes is in regard to the fact that we are now living in an industrial age which means that we are often dealing with manufactured news. Newsmakers must face 3 very new and different rules of public life.

Rules of Public Life:
1. Comunication enabled grassroots journalists are a truth squad.
2. Insiders are now part of the conversation. Leaks of information have been replaced with gushes
3. The information that comes forward can take on a life of its own. And that is the case whether it is true or not.

I feel like the most signifigant point made by Gillmor in this chapter was that if you know something in one place (location), and they post about it online, other people with an interest that care about the topic will know what you know soon enough no matter their location. Information online spreads like wild fire and is unstoppable. The example that I liked that was used in the book involved a Pepsi iTunes contest and how a consumer revealed the way to be a winner everytime when they posted: How to never lose Pepsi's iTunes giveaway? People caught on to the site and sure enough Pepsi ultimately lost money because of the flaw. I would have liked to have known about this one. This just goes to show you that the Internet cannot be ignored as a valued medium with infinite power and ability.

Again in this chapter we see the mention of camera equipped cell phones and other mobile recording devices, though this time they are used when refering to ways people can prevent crimes as well as document historical happenings. They can facilitate the documentation of any event that is taking place. The statement is made that "we are a society of voyeurs and exhibitionists" and I completely agree with this sentence. My AR: 185 class (The Art of Film) discussed a similar topic several weeks ago. The reason movies are in fact so popular is the fact that people like to watch other people. It's as simple as that. The same explaination can be applied to reality television and online journals (LiveJournal, Xanga, and MySpace).

Note: Government officials and organizations are very similar to corporations in the sense that they are strictly against the release of their private information to the public and expecially the press.

There were two more things in this chapter that I wanted to touch on before drawing this long entry to a close. Gillmor talked about how he used the internet to learn how to upgrade his DishPlayer recorder just as I learned how to do html coding off the Internet. Prior to taking EL: 236 (Writing for the Internet) I had not attempted anything html. When I got my blog and Jerz suggested it was a simple way to add customization to online text I jumped on it. I googled html color codes and played around with my CSS Stylesheet until I got it right. Overall I say that the net is a teaching tool.

But then again there are those people that abuse the net and take advantage of the 'bad sites' out there that promote hacking through the use of the open source network. In response to this chapters section on hacking I even looked up password hacking for AOL Instant Messager. There are actually programs that you can download onto your hard drive that are based on data input. If you put in a line of unknown characters they can be decrytped and the password is revealed. It is amazing, and free, but also in many cases highly illegal.

Links from the chapter:
McSpotlight Website...I wonder if Morgan Spurlock has seen this one?
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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 16, 2005 9:41 PM.

The previous post in this blog was We the Media: Chapter 1-2.

The next post in this blog is Presentation Reflection: Jenna O'Brocto...Chapter 4.

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