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Friday, December 10, 2004

Gillmor Waves Bye-Bye to MSM, Starts "Grassroots Journalism" Project

"We the Media" author and pioneering blogger Dan Gillmor is leaving The San Jose Mercury News for what he describes as a "grassroots journalism" project for which he recently received seed funding. He promises more details about the project in the near future as it develops.

It may not seem like such a big deal today, but years from now I predict Gillmor's leaving the Mercury News for his new venture will be seen as a milestone in the transition from the MSM as our dominant media to the era of internet-driven new media. I say this because Gillmor grew up professionally in the daily MSM newsroom but was among the first to recognize the vast significance of and start thinking seriously about internet-driven new media.

If you haven't read "We the Media," you should. Check out the book's web site here. Gillmor's key point is this:

"Tomorrow's news reporting and pr0duction will be more of a conversation, or a seminar. The lines will blur between producers and consumers, changing the role of both in ways we're only beginning to grasp now.
"The communication network itself will be a medium for everyone's voice, not just the few who can afford to buy multi-million dollar printing presses, launch satelites or win the government's permission to squat on the public's airwaves.
"This evolution - from journalism as lecture to journalism as a conversation or seminar - will force the various communities of interest to adapt. Everyone, from journalists to the people we cover to our sources and the former audience, must change their ways."

Being a journalist whose primary focus has always been on public policy issues and the events and people who dominate the nation's capital, I recognized a long time ago that the internet would "change everything" in media and government. The only question was how long it would take and what it would look like once the transformation was underway and then completed. "We the Media" does the best job I've seen anywhere in describing why the internet makes the transformation all but inevitable and projects forward with what I think is great insight from what is already happenning all around us.

In our brief email exchanges, it was clear that our political views diverge rather radically, but everybody in the media and public policy community can learn a great deal from Gillmor. In a very real way, he was the inspiration for Tapscott's Copy Desk because reading "We the Media" pushed me over the edge to take the plunge into the Blogosphere.

I wish him great success with his new venture.