Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media's monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. Not content to accept the news as reported, these readers-turned-reporters are publishing in real time to a worldwide audience via the Internet. The impact of their work is just beginning to be felt by professional journalists and the newsmakers they cover. In "We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People," nationally known business and technology columnist Dan Gillmor tells the story of this emerging phenomenon, and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make and consume the news.
"We the Media" is essential reading for all participants in the news cycle:
Consumers learn how they can become producers of the news. Gillmor lays out the tools of the grassroots journalist's trade, including personal Web journals (called weblogs or blogs), Internet chat groups, email, and cell phones. He also illustrates how, in this age of media consolidation and diminished reporting, to roll your own news, drawing from the array of sources available online and even over the phone.
Newsmakers politicians, business executives, celebrities get a wake-up call. The control that newsmakers enjoyed in the top-down world of Big Media is seriously undermined in the Internet Age. Gillmor shows newsmakers how to successfully play by the new rules and shift from control to engagement.
Journalists discover that the new grassroots journalism presents opportunity as well as challenge to their profession. One of the first mainstream journalists to have a blog, Gillmor says, "My readers know more than I do, and that's a good thing." In "We the Media," hemakes thecase to his colleagues that, in the face of a plethora of Internet-fueled news vehicles, they must change or become irrelevant.
At its core, "We the Media" is a book about people. People like Glenn Reynolds, a law professor whose blog postings on the intersection of technology and liberty garnered him enough readers and influence that he became a source for professional journalists. Or Ben Chandler, whose upset Congressional victory was fueled by contributions that came in response to ads on a handful of political blogs. Or Iraqi blogger Zayed, whose Healing Irag blog (healingiraq.blogspot.com) scooped Big Media. Or acridrabbit, who inspired an online community to become investigative reporters and discover that the dying Kaycee Nichols sad tale was a hoax. Give the people tools to make the news, "We the Media" asserts, and they will.
Journalism in the 21st century will be fundamentally different from the Big Media that prevails today. We the Media casts light on the future of journalism, and invites us all to be part of it.