Friday, May 1, 2009

Into the future

Thanks to Bonita Burton, deputy managing editor of the Orlando Sentinel, for bringing this. Don't forget, as some of you graduate tomorrow, that this crisis of journalism is also a major opportunity for you all. As Dan Gillmor says, "I'm almost jealous of them. I wish I were their age and starting off because the opportunities now to literally create something new or recreate something of great value to society, to our communities and our families, it's never been as open as it is now."

Dan Gillmor says the future of journalism depends on active citizens
'Weirdly optimistic'

There are those who want to save newspapers and those who suspect the future of journalism lies elsewhere.

Dan Gillmor is in the latter camp. A former newspaper reporter, Gillmor doesn't believe in propping up the journalistic institutions currently struggling to keep their footing. He's devoted much of his career to developing the potential of citizen journalism, the practice by which consumers of media become its producers, informing one another using the tools at their disposal—blogs, smart phones, smart questions and focused curiosity.

At heart, Gillmor believes journalism is a practice, one that works best when done collaboratively, and one that citizens in a democracy can and should learn.

Gillmor is a professor of journalism at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication where he runs the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship. He is also director of the Center for Citizen Media, a joint project with ASU and Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. From 1994 to 2005, he was a columnist at the San Jose Mercury News, where he wrote what is believed to be the first blog by a journalist for a traditional media company. His 2004 book We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People established him an authoritative voice on the subject.