book review: We the Media

Over the past week I’ve read Dan Gillmor’s book We The Media. In this work, Gillmore explores the evolution of the news media business and how it is dramatically changing in light of new networked technologies. While it may seem cliché to those of us who work in the media business by now, Gillmore’s analysis provides an excellent raodmap regarding this time of transition and what lies in our future. Gillmor asserts that while in the past, big media outlets and major news organizations have driven public discourse regarding politics, this is all changing in favor of regular citizens. The emergence of blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, and mobile connected cameras have fundamentally shifted the balance of power away from powerful media institutions and towards individuals who have something to say. Indeed now, anyone with a computer an Internet connection can become their own writer, editor, and publisher.

Of particular interest to me was the section of the book devoted to the way newsmakers (as opposed to news reporters) have begun to use these technologies to their advantage as well. Just this week, in fact, the Department of Homeland Security launched its own blog (or “Leadership Journal” as they call it) to help promote their views online. In their own way, the DHS has accomplished what bloggers are doing every day: bypassing the filter of the mainstream media.  Click here to read Secretary Michael Chertoff’s rant against what he perceives as a biased article in the New York Times.


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