Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Media The Internet

Dan Gillmor on His Move to "Citizen Journalism" 109

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the change-of-pace dept.
tct25 writes "Tech journalist Dan Gillmor gives OhmyNews International his first interview since announcing that he will leave the San Jose Mercury News next month in order to start a citizen-journalism venture. Many insiders are scratching their heads. Why is the much respected tech writer leaving what he described as 'greatest gig in the world' for the perilous journey of developing an entrepreneurial idea in citizen-journalism? He spoke to OhmyNews at Harvard Law School in the middle of the final day of the College's Berkman Center-sponsored 2004 Internet and Society Conference last Saturday."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dan Gillmor on His Move to "Citizen Journalism"

Comments Filter:

  • he was let go. At least he didn't become a consultant.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The liberal mainstream media today is too stifling, compared the using the power of the Internet to publish differing viewpoints.

    Today, to get away from the liberal elites, you need to find alternative outlets. Look at talk radio, a medium where conservatives can find refuge from the politically correct.

    • Or, in other words, where right wing lunatics can peddle hate.
      • I thought that was what Fox was for?
      • The left peddles hate just as much (if not more) on the internet. Just check out DemocraticUnderground for some vivid examples of how left coasters look down their noses at the rest of the country. That's hate right there.

        Don't kid yourself... There are a lot of lunatics to go around, on both sides.
        • The left peddles hate just as much (if not more) on the internet.

          The vast majority of that is a responce to neocon hate. Hating the haters so to speak. As in they hate dittoheads and the morons passing gay marriage amendments, not Farmer Joe down the road who has been voting Republican since 1954.

          Just check out DemocraticUnderground for some vivid examples of how left coasters look down their noses at the rest of the country. That's hate right there.

          No, thats redneck elitism speaking right there. J
      • in other words, where right wing lunatics can peddle hate
        It appears that Slashdot is where the left wing lunatics peddle hate. Maybe someday we'll get you guys together so you can hash it out.
        Gilmore:
        "I think there is a giant group in the middle of American politics that knows that things are really wrong in many ways but they don't like the completely polarized left vs. right that was created during the last few years."
    • where conservatives can find refuge from the politically correct.

      If by "politically correct" you mean "journalistic standards" (...such as they are...), I see your point
    • Actually, had you read the article they asked if he agreed with the conservative's idea of a "liberal mainstream media". He said the idea they had was good, to build an audience, but that the idea that the media is a big liberal circle jerk which seems to be what you think is completely out of left field (or right field, I suppose.)
    • The liberal elites? I'm sorry buddy but the majority of elitist mentality is republican. Sure, there are your NRA card toting blue-collar farming types that support Dubya 100%, but they probably didn't receieve the best of education. From what I've experienced with republicans, you are either very stupid and support the party, or very intelligent and support the party due to financial gains (greed.) As for liberal, look up the definition. It simply means "thinking for yourself." The problem is that yo
      • Boy are u missing a whole part of the population with your generalizations. I'm nowhere near most of your elitist republican description, but because of your close-mindedness you allude to the same generalities about so-called conservatives that you accuse us of doing when describing the "freaky picture" of a liberal. As for my conservativism, i do think for myself, and found my party to be the one who closest represents my thoughts....the GOP doesn't only represent the rich and greedy....i've got no mone
        • "As for political views, why should the federal gov't decide every issue in the country...."

          So why do you support Bush, who wants to pass laws that make sure that everybody conforms to his idea of morality?
      • As for liberal, look up the definition. It simply means "thinking for yourself."

        I consider myself a liberal, but this is nonsense. The root word of liberal is "liberty" or "freedom" - it has nothing to do with "thinking for oneself".

        I wish moderators would stop equating "I agree with this" with "Informative", because this clearly isn't.

        • If you stop thinking for youself, you will end up having no liberty or freedom.

          And that is what has happened over the last 30 years. There are too many people that don't think, and so you end up with "group think".

          Think about it.

      • Sure, there are your NRA card toting blue-collar farming types that support Dubya 100%, but they probably didn't receieve the best of education.

        This is what passes for Informative around here? receieve? With the standard that low, let's see how I can do.

        To recap, the standard to be a republican:

        • An NRA member
        • Blue-collar
        • Work on a farm
        • Support Dubya 100%
        • Uneducated
        • Mind controlled by radio

        Brilliant. So, that would make the liberal standard, what?

        • A NAMBLA member
        • A Hippie
        • Live in Manhattan
      • You need to go back to school. Liberal does not mean 'thuinking for one's self'
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Liberal media! Good one!

      Even NPR has been shown to use more conservative commentators, consultants, "policy research institutes" and so on than liberal ones. The most wildly, radically liberal people in mainstream America are, at best, centrists in the rest of the world.

    • by NardofDoom (821951) on Friday December 17, 2004 @10:03AM (#11115132)
      The media isn't liberal or conservative: it's corporate. It's job is to get as many people reading/watching/listening as possible so that ad revenues go up, and the shareholders make a profit.

      This is done by using sensationalist news and showing the point of view that most people agree with. Which is why you see stories like "Sex Offenders in your neighborhood!" and "Puppies: Too Cute?"

      I haven't watched the news in about a year because I just couldn't take it anymore. Turn on CNN or Fox or MSNBC any time of the day and you can run down a checklist:

      ( ) Story about sex
      ( ) Story about violence
      ( ) Story threatening your well-being
      ( ) Fluff story nobody could disagree with

      • The media isn't liberal or conservative: it's corporate.

        Yes and no. There's a corporate element to it, but the bigger problem is that the media has a point of view. I consider it a liberal one, my girlfriend thinks it's conservative. Regardless, it is an identifiable, largely predictable, point of view. That's understandable, since the bulk of the news is written by a relative handful of reporters, and they all read each other. That sets up a situation where the news reflects the culture of the reporters

        • Why do you think Fox has such a wide viewership? Because they write stories that a lot of people agree with. The farther to the right they go, the more the slim conservative majority in the country watches.

          Same thing with NPR. There was a series on last week called (no joke) "The Death of Men." It was about how the Y Chromosome will die out and genetics and biotech will make men extraneous. But the title could just as easily disguised some feminist rant about how men ruin everything they touch.

          The media i

          • The media is only as biased as its audience.

            Great line, but I don't think it's there yet. Talk radio, FOX, and the right half of the blogosphere are exploiting the public's hunger for a "differently biased" media. (So is Air America and the left half of Blogistan.) The Mainstream Media still has some clout, however. The New York Times still shapes the news cycle most days. Perhaps a better way of phrasing it would be "The media is only as biased as its audience will let it be." People are realizing that t

    • by usurper_ii (306966) <eyes0nlyNO@SPAMquest4.org> on Friday December 17, 2004 @10:10AM (#11115173) Homepage
      There was a time, when Clinton was in office, that your statement would have been basically true; give or take a few issues.

      However, with a Repulican as president, talk radio has become nothing more than a mouth piece for the white house, much in the same way the media was for Clinton when he was in office.

      If you think they aren't politically correct, call in and voice your opposition to the war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on [insert your favorite war here].

      In reality, they are about as politically correct as you can get, you just get a different politically correct viewpoint.

      Usurper_ii

      • However, with a Repulican as president, talk radio has become nothing more than a mouth piece for the white house, much in the same way the media was for Clinton when he was in office.

        Uhm, were you awake during the Clinton years? The news did a lot of blasting Clinton, from Whitewater to that stained dress girl. Name one incident on which Bush has been taken to task, from leading our country to war on a country that was no threat to the US whatsoever, based on forged documents; to barely funding the 9/1
    • Ah, no offense, but apparently you haven't read this guy at all. He's one of the liberals you're complaining about.

    • Rush, is that you?
    • ...liberal mainstream media...

      If we had one of those, the President would have been impeached and exiled to Siberia long ago.
    • Absolutely. The media, the government (especially the UN) all push a lefty-socialist agenda rather than a more democratic, efficient free-market system. Their ideal is big government, more centralised power, and more of your money.
  • Uhhh duh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jmcmunn (307798) on Friday December 17, 2004 @09:13AM (#11114875)
    "Why is the much respected tech writer leaving what he described as 'greatest gig in the world' for the perilous journey of developing an entrepreneurial idea in citizen-journalism?"

    I can think of two reasons...

    1. almost all big media is corupt these days, and spin the news to their liking just for ratings with the readers, or to get money from the sponsors. Maybe he's just sick of it.

    2. MONEY...he has a chance to "get rich quick" with his entrepreneurial venture. Why not take the risk? If he fails, he can always go back to something similar since he'll still has his good rep (unless he does something really terrible between now and then)
    • #3 and the real reason...... More time for slashdot!
    • by DrWho520 (655973) on Friday December 17, 2004 @09:43AM (#11115019) Journal
      Why is the much respected tech writer leaving what he described as 'greatest gig in the world' for the perilous journey of developing an entrepreneurial idea in citizen-journalism?

      I have a different answer for everyone to chew on. Mr. Gilmor is great at what he does, as evidenced by his cherry position, his reputation and most importantly his work. Great people get bored. He has risen to what he sees as the pinnacle of his field and he is not satisfied. He wants more. He is willing to try something radically different for the challenge and the experience and the opportunity to perhaps revolutionize the field. He wants excitement.

      Besides, if the idea does not work, do you really think he will not be able to get another job as a tech writer somewhere else? Sure, this venture might fail and he may have to go back to a similar job that pays less, but it is the risk that makes it interesting. He is living life, trying new things, actively seeking out innovation and not letting it come to him.

      I applaud him for it.
      • Sounds to me like he just wants to be his own editor. And who wouldn't?

        But, an editor is what separates the Washington Post from, well, Slashdot. Two heads are better than one. Mr. Gilmor may be able to make it work, but I think most of the time the news benefits from having editorial control outside the hands of the journalist.

    • Re:Uhhh duh... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by David Gerard (12369)
      Some people are natural journalists the way others are natural hackers. They just GOTTA WRITE THE NEWS. They tend to be very good and get VERY pissed off at hack editors and publishers. They've been watching Wikinews with keen interest.
  • by Icarus1919 (802533) on Friday December 17, 2004 @09:15AM (#11114897)
    He's angry at the media for the way they handle news, but he has no idea really where he's going with this whole citizen journalism thing. Then ohmynews proceeds to preen itself for half a page. Afterwards, they talk about blogging, it's relationship to the mainstream media, and how that can influence citizen journalism. Dan Gillmore goes on the record as being skeptical of wikinews.
  • Citizen Journalism? Like Citizen Kane?

    Does he walk around, old and mad, at the end muttering:

    "daisy-chain.... daisy-chain...."
  • by mdudzik (772902) on Friday December 17, 2004 @09:27AM (#11114952)
    Read his stuff. They're not just "tech columns". They are often political writing well informed by a knowledge of technology. Dan is one of the best columnists around, "tech" or not. I'm sure whatever he does will be worth watching.
    • I think Dan Gillmor has seen the power of Internet blogs and online discussion forums and notes they have become great places for the interchange of ideas.

      After all, weblogs ("blog") and online discussion forums have become all the rage in 2004, essentially taking many of the ideas pioneered by Slashdot and expanding them to a very wide audience. Great examples of such discussion forums include Free Republic for conservatives and Democratic Underground for liberals; for blogs, you have things like Powerlin
  • From TFA:
    • Something powerful is happening, it's in the early stages and I have a chance to help figure this out ... [professional journalists as a professional group have learned some principles which I hope to carry over into a blog]

    Thereby raising the collective IQ of ... no, that doesn't fit and it's mean to this guy, who appears to be sharp.

    "Journalism" on the Net seems to mean learning how to google and then exchanging email with someone to get a quote or two.

    While sometimes those pieces are w

    • "Journalism" on the Net seems to mean learning how to google and then exchanging email with someone to get a quote or two.

      At least they're googling! An awful lot of print reporters don't even do that. (Let's not even mention Nexis!)

      You may be overstating the "release early, release often" model of online journalism. Many sites take that approach, but others don't. The important thing is the willingness to correct or clarify, and the ability to do it in the article in question.

  • I'm probably being naive, but I think it's good what he is doing. Perhaps he is just talking to make himself sound good, but the message is still a good one. People would be a lot better of if they didn't always focus on what they wanted to hear. You should try to learn about things you may not like. Step outside your comfort zone. At the very least, be respectful that someone may have a differing opinion then yourself. If he can create something that helps to accomplish that, then I say good for him.
  • "Citizen Journalism" - is that like loads of mostly clueless people posting whatever crap in the world interests them on some website? Surely that could never work ;-).
  • It's the same sort of reason Howard Stern is moving to Sirius satellite radio.

    The current medium has been taken to its limit and is starting to backslide, so why not take a shot at something new when you can afford the risk and get some entertainment and make history in the process?

    • It's the same sort of reason Howard Stern is moving to Sirius satellite radio. The current medium has been taken to its limit and is starting to backslide

      I think you might be right about the first part, but wrong about the second. I think he is switching for the same reason as Howard Stern, but that is not because the medium has reached it's limit. It's because a bunch of powerful religious wacko idiots are trying to censor them and/or control the output for propaganda and commercial purposes. The solu

  • I guess that makes him a (future) moderator?
  • by ishmalius (153450) on Friday December 17, 2004 @10:06AM (#11115149)
    I have been reading his journal in siliconvalley.com for years. For a while now, his column has been slowly migrating from topics in technology and its culture, into ever more political arenas.

    In the last year, his column has become a bit more activist and strident. And it seems that he is likely unhappy talking about computers and the Net, when there are more mundane social affairs occurring with which he would rather be involved.

    I also miss the days of cold and clinical reporting of facts in journalism. I hope that he can avoid the pitfalls of many alternative news outlets who bemoan unfairness in the media, either from the left or right. It is so common in the many conservative blogs, or at the liberal end of the spectrum at FAIR or Indymedia, to complain about the biased media when they perceive a lack or fairness to their own side of any given issue. And it is the almost universal remedy given by them to balance this perceived unfairness, not by giving both sides of a story, but by balancing the pool of thought by only promoting their side of an issue. So in reality they are not battling biased media but supporting it.

    One quote I heard once (sorry if I get it wrong) is that impartiality in a journalist is not a character trait, but a professional skill. I like that idea. Of course newspeople have opinions like everyone else, but that should not be a factor when striving to create a quality product.

    More power to him, if he can make this work.

    • Thanks ishmalius for pointing me to Mr Gilmour's journal. I lived in the Silicon Valley from 1982-1997, and I hadn't been aware that Gilmour's writing has shifted from the pure-tech stuff he was doing back then. I find both the current article and his other recent writing fascinating.

      I have to say, though, that as soon as you say "both sides of an issue" you've already severly endangered good journalism. There are extremely few issues for which there are two neat sides, and casting issues in that way is
    • And it seems that he is likely unhappy talking about computers and the Net, when there are more mundane social affairs occurring with which he would rather be involved.

      I guess now that he's moved on, you could call him "Happy Gillmor". :)

  • it's not the college's Berkman Center...it's the Law School's Berkman center....

    - law student extraordinaire ;)
  • by agslashdot (574098) <sundararaman.kri ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday December 17, 2004 @10:12AM (#11115185)
    I had an opportunity to interview Dan Gillmor this year on camera. He was genuinely concerned about where Outsourcing was headed, especially what happens to the US economy if all tech jobs migrate from the Valley to India. He placed the whole situation in a proper historical perspective, a comparison with NAFTA & how it was different this time around, a rundown of the actual numbers of people who were laid off, the impact on the valley, mountains of idle cash sitting on Sand Hill Road, and so much more...I came away with a feeling I had spoken to someone who felt quite strongly about where this country was headed, not your average journo who cooks up a spin so he can pay his bills. Here's his picture [projectoutsourced.com]he's 5th from the bottom.
  • He admits in the article that he doesn't know where he's going with the new venture which means he probably hasn't got venture capital.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he was laid off as the San Jose Mercury shrinks back. More people, especially in the Valley, are getting their news from the net instead of from paper and newspapers are shrinking as a result.


  • Simplistic moralist. Much more of a business writer, not tech writer, making simplistic moralism even less interesting.

    But, I stopped reading newspapers much, as everything is online via Google.

    So, even the foolish Rodriguez at the Murky News doesn't bother me any more.

    Lew
  • The fact of the matter is, sure, he was a respected tech writer and working for one of the best papers in the country, but there's a huge field growing out there, and I think journalism needs a slight kick in the head to a degree.

    Don't get me wrong. I think we put together a great product day in and day out. However, we're bound by the same rigid corporate standards that other large entities are held to.

    That's the thing that's so exciting about citizen journalism. You're not worried about a single use o

  • He "gets it" (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    > Why is the much respected tech writer leaving what he described as 'greatest gig in the world' for the perilous journey of developing an entrepreneurial idea in citizen-journalism?

    Probably because he "gets it". He knows that old-school media like newspapers and television will eventually give way to new media.

    To be blunt about it: who's really going to read newspapers anymore? The Internet can slice and dice content in custom-tailored ways that makes newspapers look as obsolete as clay tablets.

    He's

  • Gilmor is a great tech writer and I too have read him in SiliconValley.com for years. But he has increasingly become more political and his blog has become full of left wing rants. To me that takes away from his tech writing.

    This so-called believer in free speech has actually banned conservatives who debate him on his blog. He backed the National Guard story on Bush six months before Dan Rather. He joins Rather in still believing the story is true even though the documents were fake.

    Maybe he can m
    • He joins Rather in still believing the story is true even though the documents were fake.

      This isn't the first time people have made fools of themselves for backing forged documents. Like, the was the time those people believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction because of some forged documents, even though all physical evidence pointed to them not having WMD.

      I hear we even went to war over that!

      So it's not the first time idiots have believed forged documents, even when everyone else knew they were fo
      • No doubt Bush was probably wrong about WMD's in Iraq. But so were Bill Clinton and John Kerry who were both on record as late as early 2002 in saying Iraq had WMD's.

        Sounds like Gilmor's venture had found their first subscriber!

        Man Holmes
  • Okay, why is it that when I come up with a big idea, somebody else comes along with more clout and more money and does it too?

    This time, I had the same idea [dailyglobenews.com]. A "citizens newspaper," written in blogspace, but instead of stuff like, "My cat died and I'm sad!" it would be, "Here is a report on the local town meeting," or, "Last night in Baghdad, seven houses in my neighborhood were raided by US forces, without any search warrants whatsoever, and several people were taken away, never to be heard from again."
  • I reckon he's going to do something in the area of podcasting. If you listen to his podcast show, The Gilmore Gang, you'll have heard that he's been giving off hints of this for some time now.

    He sees podcasting as becoming a mainstream slice of the media pie in the future, much like newspapers, radio, TV and the WWW already are, but in a much more democratized fashion.

    I.E.: There won't be so much hegemony of a few media moguls over vast empires of dominant, dogmatic opinion. Instead, little shows from the
  • Gilmore talks a good game in his book and in the interview, but I'll believe in the purity of this endeavor when I see it. In this context phrases like "citizen-journalism" and
    "grassroots journalism" usually mean that existing media outlets aren't enough of a left
    wing pep rally for the writer's taste. The result won't be to reveal information that
    wasn't widely available. It will be to keep flogging a pet story far beyond the point where
    there is anything new to report. The citizen contributions will basi
  • Why is the much respected tech writer leaving what he described as 'greatest gig in the world' for the perilous journey of developing an entrepreneurial idea in citizen-journalism?

    Like many Bay Area Sprawl denizens, I've subscribed to the Mercury News (where Dan Gilmore publishes) for many years. I used to really like Gilmore's writing. I have not gone back and read the archives (assuming they are available without fee), but I remember Gilmore as being someone on the side of engineers and innovation

Suggest you just sit there and wait till life gets easier.

Working...