OII SDP 2007 (VII): Old Media, New Media: Citizens, Journalism and the Net.

Leads: Dan Gillmor, Steve Schifferes

From Lecture to Conversation, by Dan Gillmor

“Democratized” Media

Not in the sense of voting… but participation, production, access

Lots of data, previously unreleased, previously unrecorded, now come to light because there’s someone there, in situ, to collect them and share them in the shape of text, photo, video, etc. And all this data is (almost) immediately made public… enhanced and brought to you by RSS feeds.

Indeed, data is not only collected by treated, thus becoming information. Does this make of all of us journalists? people? academics? nonprofits? corporations? Steve Jobs posts Thoughts on Music instead of conceding an interview: is the he the journalist?

It is, indeed, the best time ever to be an entrepreneur journalist Same for nonprofits (under another model, of course), such as Global Voices.

Media remixability

Multimedia mashups are becoming more and more popular due to the ease to make them (and the impressive availability of huge amounts of content, I’d dare ask).

More and more, citizens are asked to contribute with their stuff to traditional media… but people also do it by themselves, and upload their stuff on the Internet, either in their own spaces or shared spaces provided by third parties.

Actually, people had done this before. But now its easiear, ubiquous.


  • Media overload
  • Who to trust
  • Need for media literacy, for both producers but, specially, for consumers

Basic Principles (for Audience)

  • The audience should be skeptical… but just about everything
  • but adjusting a “trust quotient” for each site
  • Keep reporting
  • Learn media techniques, not only technologycal, but also about media power, how to use it, etc. Training about principles, practices, ethics, law…

Basic Principles (for All Journalists, Pro and Amateur)

  • Throroughness
  • Accuracy
  • Fairness
  • Independence
  • Transparency

Daily Us

  • Popularity is not enough
  • Reputation

My reflections

  • Keeping on with the question whether i.e. bloggers are journalists… they might be somewhere within the range of being zero journalists to absolute journalists. Do they really need to adhere explicit manifestos about their ethics? always? never? only if they are really close to being “real” journalists? should it be kept implicit? expliciting it is just a means to try and shape oneself’s identity as journalist?
  • Keeping on with the issue of the Daily Us and reputation… will academic blogs ever count (academically, scientifically)? will some kind of reputation system (à la hacker?) override/complement traditional peer review? there actually exists some kind of peer review on blogs through comments, pingbacks and trackbacks and blogrolls (and other “citation” systems), blog/website rankings, and so?
  • will everyone be a prosumer by default and his respective “trust quotient” will draw the redline between amateurs and professionals?

Downloading Democracy, by Steve Schifferes

From 2004 to 2005 people audience for elections has trippled, over all due to increased broadband use at home, but also due to increased Internet use at work (something not specially prosecuted at the UK).

Another reason is that media have really covered the “online campaigns” (the BBC making the difference with other media.

The election audience is similar to the BBC News website audience, which is known to be different to other BBC platforms: Internet users are more interested in politics and current affairs. This could be due to the bias the Internet itself induces on users: medium to high class, young profile, etc.

And the consumption of politics information the do on the Internet is huge. Indeed, young viewers use the BBC web more but also use other news sources. They really go “out” of the established media and look for other voices.

But only a minotiry were mobilised to become political activists. Surprisingly, the bias of political blogs (they approach a determinate party’s discourse) is increasing. Thus, it looks like the web is positive for political engagement

My reflections

  • the web is positive for political engagement… but it looks as it is not the traditional engagement parties expect people to take
  • is this engagement more focused on concrete actions, issues… on organizing smart mobs?
  • As an answer to the previous point, Steve Schifferes states that, at least from now, blogs and digital media are more likely to be reactive to (a) parties’ proposals and (b) traditional media coverage and information (in the form of adherence or criticism) rather and be more proactive and the origin of actions. This does not mean they cannot (are not) being proactive, but this is not the norm


Cornfield, M. (2005). The Internet and Campaign 2004: A Look Back at the Campaigners. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved July 10, 2007 from http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/Cornfield_commentary.pdf
Sunstein, C. R. (2001). Republic.com. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Gillmor, D. (2004). We The Media. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media.
Bimber, B. & Davis, R. (2003). Campaigning Online. The Internet in U.S. Elections. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pickerill, J. (2004). Cyberprotest: Environmental Activism Online. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

More info


SDP 2007 related posts (2007)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “OII SDP 2007 (VII): Old Media, New Media: Citizens, Journalism and the Net.” In ICTlogy, #46, July 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from https://ictlogy.net/review/?p=572

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