JOURNALIST Q&A: Dan Gillmor

Dan Gillmor's new book, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, chronicles the good fight being waged against the monopoly corporate media holds on the news.

Dan Gillmor's new book, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, chronicles the good fight being waged against the monopoly corporate media holds on the news.

Here, he speaks to PRWeek about the inspiration for the book, his thoughts on journalism, and the importance of bloggers. PRWeek: What was the impetus for this book? Dan Gillmor: For the last few years, I have been developing my own version of this new type of journalism, or evolving kind of journalism. And I thought it might be an interesting book. The word "monopoly" is increasingly misplaced. But there has been a dangerous consolidation of big media. And if we do this right, then the monopoly erodes. The basic notion for the change is about the collision of technology with journalism. Technology has had a profound impact on the three major constituencies of journalism - journalists, the newsmakers, and audiences. As journalists, we have much to learn about how to use these new tools. We also must welcome a conversation we haven't had before. All this needs to be done in conversation, not a lecture. The newsmakers, the institutions the journalists cover, should listen and embrace the buzz about what is going on. And they now have tools to communicate more directly with all audiences. And audiences can get much more nuanced and in-depth reports, and they can become part of the journalistic process themselves. It's quite a wonderful change. PRWeek: How do you feel about the state of journalism these days and where it's going? Gillmor: I believe in big journalism. If we disappear, that is a big problem for society. We have a role, but we have to adapt to this change, more so than we have. We need to use these new tools and be a part of the conversation, and not pretend it's not taking place. The New York Times [did] a fantastic series on corporate misbehavior. I don't want stuff The New York Times does to disappear. I want it to continue. The watchdog role is really important. PRWeek: What are your thoughts on the state of the media when it comes to covering the technology industry? Gillmor: This is a great example of what the book is about. I buy the Macintosh publications because they have good information. But I'm getting just as good information about my Mac from user websites and semi-professional websites as from those titles. I wouldn't fail to read MacInTouch.com. The trade industry is under pressure from the web. PRWeek: What kind of job are PR people doing? Gillmor: The late 1990s was a period a lot of folks would like to forget. There was too much frenzy. People are starting to recognize that relationships take time to develop. PR pros need to use these tools themselves. They need to find out who is the most important blogger writing about their company. If they don't, they're not doing their job. They need to understand the outsized influence a really good blogger has. Name: Dan Gillmor Publication: San Jose Mercury News Title: Business and technology columnist Preferred contact method: dgillmor@mercurynews.com Website: www.dangillmor.com

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