In “We the Media,” Dan Gillmor discussed how the Internet and the growth of modern technology have helped change the face of journalism.  He argued that the new phenomenon called weblogging has given citizens a voice beyond just writing letters to the editor.  He defined a weblog as “an online journal comprised of links and postings in reverse chronological order, with the most recent posting appearing at the top of the page.”  He argued that weblogs (popularly know as “blogs”), “were the first tool that made it easy – or at least easier – to publish to the web.”  So instead of writing a letter to the editor and hoping their voices will be heard, citizens can now post their thoughts on topics of interest to their own blog.

Senator Trent Lott was one of the first to discover the affect this new phenomenon would have on journalism and the community as a whole.  When Lott made his infamous comment during Storm Thurmond’s 100th birthday celebration, it did not create much buzz amoung the mass media.  It was those individuals in the blogging community who brought this issue to the media’s attention, which eventually led to Lott’s resignation from his position as Senate Majority Leader.

Public officials are not the only ones to see the impact of this new medium.  According to Gillmor, Joe Nacchio former CEO of Qwest Communications also had an unfortunate experience with blogging.  Nacchio in a speech at a PC Forum in Phoenix, he complained about “difficulties in raising capital” for his company.  Gillmor was in the audience taking notes and publishing this information on his blog when he received an e-mail from a lawyer in Florida, Buzz Bruggeman.  Bruggeman had been following Gillmor’s blog and ran across information that Nacchio had cashed in “more than $200 million in stock while his company was going downhill.”  Gillmor posted this information to his blog and the mood of the audience at the forum suddenly changed to pure hostility toward the CEO.  Nacchio later resigned.

These two examples show that blogging has important implications to those in the public eye.  Big businesses are learning that this is a new medium they should follow.  Really Simple Syndication (RSS) has made it easier for blog readers to follow their topics of interest.  By setting up a RSS feed, individuals can “have their computers and other smart devices retrieve information they care about.”  More businesses are therefore making information available for RSS.  This information includes press releases and information regarding their products.

Gillmor gives good examples of how the internet and its growth in use is changing journalism.  This book is a valuable resource for every journalist, business professional and citizen who is striving for success in their field.  There’s a popular saying, “two minds are better than one.” Gillmor makes the argument that if journalists and business executives open their minds, they will see that everyday citizens can offer valuable information.  I agree with his argument that those who do not follow the new online medium will be left in the dark…much to their chagrin. 

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