From Tom Pain to Blogs and Beyond – Erica Schisler

I assume that the article I just read is from the book “We the Media” by Dan Gillmor – but I can’t be sure because there was nothing I could find on the class website or the PDF indicating the title or the author.

The author gives an overview of the history of journalism in America.

He starts with the importance of the US Constitutions first amendment and the importance of freedom of speech.

He then describes early “personal journalism” – as early as Ben Franklin and as influential as the Federalist Papers.

Next he very quickly reviews some of the main revolutions in US Media History: postal service for disseminating news papers, telegraph for the collection and transmission of news in distant places, etc.

He then describes types of journalism like: yellow journalism, muckraking, investigative journalism and ultimately the corporatization of journalism which he sees as inevitable because, “industries consolidate. This is in the nature of capitalism.”

Next up in history is Radio, Broadcasting and Cable– with broadcasting becoming the biggest media of all. With the advent of cable came the rise of local stations and with that the desire to get ratings and lure audiences with violence and entertainment: “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Oh but through all this + technology we see a number of areas that changed “journalism” in profound ways: CNN, ARPANET, Personal computers, Forums, Usenet, CompuServe, BBS, desktop publishing, Talk radio and modern talk radio with audience participation, WWW, HTML, Mosiac, Frontier, Manila, Open Source, Linus, Blogging.

It is interesting to consider the open source philosophy as something much broader than software development –as possibly a reflection of our roots – a reflection of how the constitution came to be and was written and the philosophy of how it is administered (for lack of a better word) and how it is used a foundation for living together – open source as a social contract.

Blogging? what can I say about blogging? what did Gillmor say about blogging? I can’t remember exactly his thoughts on blogging except that he relates it to personal journalism. As for me? I’m tired of technology revolutions – or is it that they have become tiresome? So, I don’t feel like calling blogs a revolution. I simply don’t feel like believing the entire universe is going to change because of blogs. Of course I could come to eat my words in the future when some horrid blogger in 2020 finds my words and uses them against me— because the decision has been made that in order to control the population the luddites should go at age 30 (logan’s run with a twist). Anyway…what is so amazing about blogs? it puts in in the hands of the people (or at least the ones that have computers, time to spare, and think they have something to say or share). Blogs move us away from one to one, or one to many and move us into many to many communication. Blogs hopefully inspire collaboration. Will they take over journalism? I dunno. But I’m sure they will help journalism. Some people really like them. Some people find it super useful. Some people find it a great source for news. Some do it well. Some don’t. some we care about. some we don’t. For some people it is rich with knowledge sharing, information gathering and education. For some it is more about their 15 minutes or (painfully) more of fame. For some people it helps them do (or feel like it) something – as in the case of 911. Similar to desktop publishing, or the world wide web – blogging will go through the growth and explosion stage (meaning way too many, way too much information, horribly designed, bad spelling, poor grammar etc) and ultimately we’ll all decide which ones we care about, what about them we like, and what is useful to us (but the key is “to us” – meaning the individual)– and if we want- we can all become reporters. Oh, but don’t forget someone somewhere will be monitoring our blogging and blog visiting so they can figure out how to market to us via blog style – neat.

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