Dan Gillmor is working on a new book about “Making the News” and he’s asking for reader input.
How can you join the project? Please tell me what you think of these ideas. More that that, please tell me about specific things you know about that would a) help illustrate the concepts; b) refute what I’m saying; and/or c) provide further nuance and context.
First of all, how cool is that? Second of all, the subtitle really nails it: “What Happens to Journalism and Society When Every Reader Can Be a Writer.” I’ll say it again, the connection of Web logs and journalism is just too important to miss. It’s valid to argue what form of journalism Web logs take, but there is no denying any longer that it’s a form we’re all going to have to start taking seriously as a source of information. And that means teaching our students the good and bad about the genre as well. I have a number of new “sources” that I trust, and I’ve left behind many of the traditional media sources that I used to rely on. The more I read Web logs and the more I find intelligent, articulate filters and thinkers, the less I believe the stream of pre-packaged pablum that Big Media want me to consume. And that’s significant as I have been immersed in the study of media almost all of my professional life. If you would have told me just a couple of years ago that I would stop buying newspapers and not watch the evening news I would have laughed in your face. Seriously. But here I am.
I got a new class of journalists today, and they are about to find out what happens when readers become writers. In fact, I’m thinking about throwing out the whole curriculum and starting over, of letting them choose one passion and develop it through reading AND writing (with an audience) for the whole quarter. And it’s that topic, that passion that is key. When I look back at the last two years or so, the three things that jump out are: 1.) I have never written as much in my whole life, 2.) I have never known as much about any one thing as I know about this, and 3.) there is still an ocean of stuff left to learn, I know. For whatever reason, I am pulled to this topic again and again. And that’s what I like about all of the people who I’m aggregating…they have a passion. They wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t find it valuable and interesting. And their consistency and thoughtfulness make them reputable, more reputable than more prominent sources with obvious agendas.
Anyway, that’s one Web log book I’m not going to miss.