What does the future hold for citizen journalism? In a world where media is democratized, many organizations have responded by increasingly trying to control the message and the dissemination of information. In this edition of Sound Policy with Denise Howell, Dan Gillmor reveals that the distinction between the mainstream journalist and the citizen journalist has become increasingly blurred by the act of journalism itself.
Our emerging world of distributed media has allowed the average person to become a citizen journalist just by being somewhere and being able to disseminate information. Spectators can take photos or video and upload them to the web. Even mainstream media uses the bystander who captures eyewitness footage as a resource for news broadcasts. This brings up the contentious issue of who is a journalist? Is the act of journalism itself enough to qualify whether or not certain rights such as freedom of speech or freedom of the press should be upheld?
Since the first amendment makes a distinction between freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, protection should be extended to anyone performing an act of journalism. The point is not to protect reporters of the New York Times but to protect reporters. Dan Gillmor also suggests that bloggers and podcasters need to understand that the laws of defamation apply to them too.
Dan Gillmor is author of We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People, a 2004 book that is widely credited as the first comprehensive look at way the collision of technology and journalism is transforming the media landscape.
From 1994-2004, Dan was a columnist at the San Jose Mercury News, Silicon Valley's daily newspaper, and wrote a weblog for SiliconValley.com. He joined the Mercury News after six years with the Detroit Free Press. Before that, he was with the Kansas City Times and several newspapers in Vermont.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Vermont, Dan received a Herbert Davenport fellowship in 1982 for economics and business reporting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. During the 1986-87 academic year he was a journalism fellow at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he studied history, political theory and economics. He has won or shared in several regional and national journalism awards.
Before becoming a journalist he played music professionally for seven years.
This free podcast is from our Sound Policy with Denise Howell series.