Gina’s Blog

Journalism’s Past, Present, and Future

Posted in Digital Technology by Gina on September 12, 2007


In the first six chapters of We the Media:  Grassroots Journalism by the People for the People, Dan Gillmor explains how journalism has evolved since the 1800’s and has changed since the inception of the digital age. 

After a brief history lesson explaining how the world arrived at our present state of technology, thankfully, the author begins by defining the most commonly used technological terms like RSS, SMS, and Wiki. Even novice readers are able to follow the subsequent information, which pay special attention to the influence of weblogs.

Blogging has allowed the average citizen to take on a powerful role in journalism.  September 11 brought the importance of citizen journalism to a mainstream audience.  Much of the televised footage and sound-bites were from a variety of people outside of the journalism field.  As people continue to carry camera phones as if they were a new appendage, I am certain that we will continue to see more citizen-produced videos making their way into mainstream journalism or at least to a broad audience through sites such as YouTube.

The new concept of a citizen journalist could be somewhat intimidating for professional journalists, but Gillmor explains that this is not a threat; instead, it is a method of transmitting an array of accurate information and diverse opinions to readers.  Regardless of how a company may feel about blogging, it is important to allow readers to participate in the news process and interact with the professionals that post this information.  Citizens can contribute information to blogs that the journalist did not have access to or may not have been able to include (for bureaucratic reasons).  The information posted by the citizen journalist could enable a news organization or other company to get a scoop on a certain aspect of the blog topic or could allow facets of story to be told without the organization being held liable.

Each citizen’s right to the freedom of speech is a very important facet of the First Amendment, but as explained by Doctorow, Powers, Johnson, Dornfest, and Trott in Essential Blogging, journalists’ messages are often edited several times before reaching its audience, altering the story that was to be conveyed.  Blogs have allowed journalists to ensure that the public has access to uncensored information that they wish to share. Weblogs are proving to be especially useful during political campaigns. 

Allowing people to voice their opinion and give and receive information is explained by Gillmor to be beneficial, although both the Howard Dean and Sue Grubb campaign were not able to declare a victory after its implementation.  Being able to address people’s concerns and read about the issues that voters would like addressed will surely prove to be important in the 2008 election.  I believe the candidates that utilize the Web to its maximum potential have the best chance of gaining new supporters.

Along with blogging, SMS and television advertising are explained to be persuasive methods for transmitting political messages, making it important for more agencies and organizations to incorporate new technology into its operation.  Top executives and officials are becoming more active in blogging to better understand the public and ensure that their company’s message is being properly received.  This hand-on approach from top executives and officials makes many readers skeptical considering it’s rare that many execs get there own coffee much less write their own blogs, but all we as blog readers can do is simply hope that regardless of the author, the true sentiment that the executive intended is presented in the blog.

This week’s reading demonstrates just how far digital technology has become, where it is going, and why it is so important that we embrace all of the emergences that are to come.



One Response to 'Journalism’s Past, Present, and Future'

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  1. Tonya said,

    Just wanted to show my support!!

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