Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media's monopoly on thenews, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. Not contentto accept the news as reported, these readers-turned-reporters arepublishing in real time to a worldwide audience via the Internet.The impact of their work is just beginning to be felt byprofessional journalists and the newsmakers they cover. In Wethe Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People,nationally known business and technology columnist Dan Gillmortells the story of this emerging phenomenon, and sheds light onthis deep shift in how we make and consume the news. We theMedia is essential reading for all participants in the newscycle:
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), Internetchat groups, email, and cell phones. He also illustrates how, inthis age of media consolidation and diminished reporting, to rollyour own news, drawing from the array of sources available onlineand even over the phone.
Newsmakers politicians, business executives, celebrities get awake-up call. The control that newsmakers enjoyed in the top-downworld of Big Media is seriously undermined in the Internet Age.Gillmor shows newsmakers how to successfully play by the new rulesand shift from control to engagement.
Journalists discover that the new grassroots journalismpresents opportunity as well as challenge to their profession. Oneof the first mainstream journalists to have a blog, Gillmor says,"My readers know more than I do, and that's a good thing." In Wethe Media, he makes the case to his colleagues that, in theface of a plethora of Internet-fueled news vehicles, they mustchange or become irrelevant.
At its core, We the Media is a book about people. Peoplelike Glenn Reynolds, a law professor whose blog postings on theintersection of technology and liberty garnered him enough readersand influence that he became a source for professional journalists.Or Ben Chandler, whose upset Congressional victory was fueled bycontributions that came in response to ads on a handful ofpolitical blogs. Or Iraqi blogger Zayed, whose Healing Irag blog(healingiraq.blogspot.com) scooped Big Media. Or acridrabbit, whoinspired an online community to become investigative reporters anddiscover that the dying Kaycee Nichols sad tale was a hoax. Givethe people tools to make the news, We the Media asserts, andthey will. Journalism in the 21st century will be fundamentallydifferent from the Big Media that prevails today. We the Mediacasts light on the future of journalism, and invites us all to bepart of it.