Blogbursts. RSS. Blog Swarms on the look out for prey. Scripted blog activites, seemingly spontaneous. Ghost written blogs. People hired and fired because of blogs. Syndications. THE DEAR DIARY DAYS of blogging have gone forever. Enter the Big Wave. The Hype.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Sampling Dan Gillmor

So, it's time I delve into the theory of blogging.

{Munich Time: It's CET}

Because if there should be, God forbid, no ROI at the end of the blogging tunnel, at least I want, no, need, require, desire the assurance, that there will be light in the shape of the Greater Good. Or even better the hope, that ubiquitous blogging is the harbinger of great evolutionary change. Change that is post Industrial, post Communication Age, post New Age, post Free Speech, full circling, as it were, back to the future, where we all, in our past lives were story tellers and where getting food on the table was connected with doing great heroic things such as killing bears, or whales. Living to tell about it and eat in a convivial setting, too.

I am sampling Dan Gillmor because he believes in the Greater Good of Blogging. And he has no reason to. He is a journalist.

Sampling Dan Gillmor in a foreword for WE MEDIA:

«I've been lucky enough to be an early participant in participatory journalism, having been urged almost four years ago by one of the weblog software pioneers to start my own blog.

«That audience, never shy to let me know when I get something wrong, made me realize something: My readers know more than I do. This has become almost a mantra in my work. It is by definition the reality for every journalist, no matter what his or her beat.

«This is all about decentralization. Traditionally centralized news-gathering and distribution is being augmented (and some cases will be replaced) by what's happening at the edges of increasingly ubiquitous networks. People are combining powerful technological tools and innovative ideas, fundamentally altering the nature of journalism in this new century.

«Participatory journalism is a healthy trend, however disruptive it may be for those whose roles are changing.

«But I'm optimistic, largely because the technology will be difficult to control in the long run, and because people like to tell stories. The new audience will be fragmented beyond anything we've seen so far, but news will be more relevant than ever.

«In the view of futurist and author
Watts Wacker,
the question is not about greater personalization but about greater perspectives. According to Wacker, the world is moving faster than people can keep up with it. As a result, there are fewer common cultural references that can be agreed upon. Ideas, styles, products and mores accelerate their way from the fringe to the mainstream with increasing speed.

«And what will we be doing in the future?

«To understand that, Wacker advises, you must seek out people from the future today and study them.3 How do you find people from the future? Locate early adopters — people who are using and appropriating technology in new ways.

«We The Audience As Predator
The rise of we media
The venerable profession of journalism finds itself at a rare moment in history where, for the first time, its hegemony as gatekeeper of the news is threatened by not just new technology and competitors but, potentially, by the audience it serves.

«With every major news event, online media evolve.

«Weblogs, or blogs as they are commonly known, are the most active and surprising form of this participation. These personal publishing systems have given rise to a phenomenon that shows the markings of a revolution — giving anyone with the right talent and energy the ability to be heard far and wide on the Web.

Kovach and Rosenstiel say that terms such as fairness, balance and objectivity are too vague to rise to essential elements of this profession. From their research, they distilled this value: "The primary purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing."

"The main concept is that every citizen can be a reporter," Yeon-ho says. "A reporter is the one who has the news and who is trying to inform others."

Traditional media are created by hierarchical organizations that are built for commerce. Their business models are broadcast and advertising focused. They value rigorous editorial workflow, profitability and integrity.

Participatory journalism is created by networked communities that value conversation, collaboration and egalitarianism over profitability.

Clay Shirky, an adjunct professor at New York University who has consulted on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies, sees the difference this way: "The order of things in broadcast is 'filter, then publish.' The order in communities is 'publish, then filter.' If you go to a dinner party, you don't submit your potential comments to the hosts, so that they can tell you which ones are good enough to air before the group, but this is how broadcast works every day. Writers submit their stories in advance, to be edited or rejected before the public ever sees them. Participants in a community, by contrast, say what they have to say, and the good is sorted from the mediocre after the fact."

Many traditional journalists are dismissive of participatory journalism, particularly webloggers, characterizing them as self-interested or unskilled amateurs. Conversely, many webloggers look upon mainstream media as an arrogant, exclusive club that puts its own version of self-interest and economic survival above the societal responsibility of a free press.

Scott Rosenberg, managing editor of, explains, "Weblogs expand the media universe. They are a media life-form that is native to the Web, and they add something new to our mix, something valuable, something that couldn't have existed before the Web.

"It should be obvious that weblogs aren't competing with the work of the professional journalism establishment, but rather complementing it. If the pros are criticized as being cautious, impersonal, corporate and herdlike, the bloggers are the opposite in, well, almost every respect: They're reckless, confessional, funky — and herdlike."

And so on.
But what I did not realize was, that Dan Gillmor leaving the paper for participatory journalim was such a
big deal

The source of the samplers:

delivering ROI, live and direct.


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