Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism - and NEO is blogging and reading

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 01/04/2005 - 01:55.

December 31, 2004, Dan Gillmor ended a ten year gig writing about technology at the San Jose Mercury News and siliconvalley.com to focus on other efforts, including a blog called Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism - A conversation about the future of journalism "by the people, for the people" There, he share fresh insight on a field he knows well, demonstrated in his 2004 book We the Media, and the insight on his blog ranges from developments in open source journalism to the underlying technologies. Why go from the mainstream media to a blog? Read on (and I agree with Dan - stop using PDF for your documents, it is a closed, ineffective publishing medium):

A Medium Coming Into Its Own

The graph, from a new study (summary) by the Pew Internet
& American Life Project, tells us something vital about the expanding
authority of blogs. While the number of new blogs is rising, readership is
growing even faster.

Note: I wish these studies were available in plain HTML, not
just PDF format. You can find the PDF here.

Future of Journalism

Journalism, newspapering and the rate at which innovation is adopted are interrelated to the future of communication.  Gillmour is the latest convert to the dynamic process that is sweeping through newsrooms.  The Washington Post's purchase of Slate is another manifestation of a phenomenon that is gaining upon traditional practices.  Two decades ago, the deregulation of  industries cosseted by decades of regulation brought about a systemic increase in productivity: today that phenomenon is building tsumani-like.  Some questions:  How soon will the wave arrive?  What will be the consequences?  IN its aftermath, what are the channels that will supplant traditional practices?  The answers to these questions have big consequences for the process of culture change in NEO and elsewhere.  Does this interest anyone reading this?  

Very interested - deep news has arrived, and more

In 2000 I wrote Plain Dealer publisher Doug Clifton forecasting news gathering and reporting becoming humanized by the Internet, and that we'd see development of something I called "Deep News", where some sites would capture news from many sources and link them together, making the original "container" less important than the content - between RSS and blogging, with the explosion of Internet use in general, we've already seen those developments occur. Now to see where these early waves of sea-change leave conventional news sources of yore - REALNEO features RSS feeds from the Akron daily paper and Channel 5 news, but not Crains and the PD, because they don't support "syndication" - where the future waterline settles will be fascinating... I'll post more on related global developments shortly.

What about the franchise?

Journalisms' oligopolistic practices are being attacked by new media channels. The value of newspapers' "franchise" is dissipating rapidly.  Tom Brokaw's address to the National Press Club in Nov. '03 announced the obsolescence of the news anchor; Dan Rather's recent election cycle performance provided futher confirmation.  The PD's mediocre performance has been accepted because of the alternatives to it: There are none!  That state of affairs is over. 

Radio too -

I heard an interesting discussion on NPR concerning similar dynamics for the radio industry, where a few large chains used deregulation as an opportunity to build massive franchises on the assumption in captive markets advertising revenue growth would continue, but transformational technologies like the Internet (for broadband content distribution), MP3 (for transportable content storage/playback), and Sat. (for broadcast) have blown apart all that industry's financial visioning, and those franchises are valued far below their projections, even as all those transfomations have created significant new economy growth in other sectors - electronics, application development, communications, intellectual property, with great job creation in each sector. Shows NEO wants to be at the visioning front lines rather than just nodes on outdated franchise models. Open Source Economic Development enables that.

More new media transformatons, thanks to the new economy

Also, consider this, from Good Morning Silicon Valley:

HP pins home
entertainment hopes on sales of plasma refill cartridges

By jpaczkowski [at] realcities [dot] com">John

It says a lot
about the direction of the PC industry that 17 of the new televisions scheduled
to be trotted out at this week's Consumer Electronics Show aren't from
name-brand TV makers, but from Hewlett-Packard. On the eve of CES, the No. 1 PC
maker unveiled a slew of additions to its home electronics lineup, among them an
array of plasma, LCD and rear-projection microdisplay TVs and a
"non-PC" digital media hub intended to store and manage digital music, photos,
home video and TV shows
. "We absolutely know from the research we've done …
that there is a big set of consumers that are not comfortable enough with the PC
to say, 'I want this to be the center of my living room experience,' " HP
CEO Carly Fiorina told the L.A. Times
. "But they do want to be able to do,
in their living rooms, something like take their digital photos and put them to
music and come up with a great slide show, and do it in an easy way." Clearly,
HP is gunning to become a big name in digital entertainment products. And with
margins on personal computers, workstations and servers thinning more every
year, it has to.


Gillmor points out "Bloggers are ABC People of the Year"

In the past week there's been lots of great coverage of the blogging world... among the noteworthy material:

  • ABC News's World News Tonight understood the importance of bloggers, and called them "People of the Year" (Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing is featured).
  • Air Time & Content

    Channels: Regardless of the delivery mode, channels require content.  A new genre of information is being created because information that is functional is being created so rapidily that the new channels are the only ones capable of delivering it, timely.  I would observe that because IP is the prime differentiating quality that people have, there is enormous potential demand for personalized information tailored to create and enhance unique value. Cognitive changes - call it culture change - must happen fast for regions to retain their asset base, as a the traditional sources of wealth are under terrific stress arising from the integration of China and India into the world's economy.  This labor arbitrage is creating huge though albiet unappreciated demand for unique value.  REALNEO is the platform through which that happens.  TOPSOIL may be the content.   

    Right on - now to "Being There"

    I see TOPSOIL as exactly that - where IP can take root.
    REALNEO is the innate nutrition in the soil that enables life – the fertilizer
    from the decomposition of all the complex elements collecting over time. IP,
    whether songs, images, multimedia, film, books, poems, news, etc. are seeds that
    represent the unique value potential of all people, offering what may grow from
    a healthy TOPSOIL, if provided a healthy OSED environment raining Brainpower, generated
    from and through rivers of Innovation Networks, established in a Quality,
    Connected Place, in an ecosystem of Dialogue and Inclusion, which we may Brand
    and Market as the Garden of NEO. Thus, Winter is followed by Spring, as was so
    beautifully portrayed in "Being There" - it takes the simple bottom-up
    gardener to celebrate the trees in the forest, thus being the one to ultimately
    walk on water.