Staci D. Kramer at OJR brings us Connecting With Dan Gillmor: What’s Next For the Web, an interview with one of the most respected technology journalists and author of the new book on participatory journalism, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People.
We just received our copy of the hardback (thanks Dan!), so as soon as we’ve had a chance to pour through the book, we’ll be posting our review on MediaBlog. Meanwhile, he’s a few tasty excerpts from Staci’s interview with Dan.
OJR: In Vermont you covered local government, the Public Service Commission, a lot of things that in many states didn’t get attention at all and still don’t. Reading the book, in today’s environment I can imagine someone who has a passionate interest in the PSC or water rights going to the meetings, then going home and blogging the meetings — or blogging them from there.
Gillmor: I would love to see that, to see people who take local government, state government stuff, more seriously than we do in the journalism community. We take it seriously, but we don’t have the manpower … There’s just not the staff levels for everything. I would love to see dueling bloggers on everything. I think you’d find pretty interesting information.
OJR: Would you be able to trust the information?
Gillmor: To a degree. You learn what you can trust and what you can’t. I don’t think anyone picking up any publication or going to a site for the first time should automatically trust it. If I’m directed there by Doc Searls I will give it an automatic boost in trust before I start — not complete trust, but Doc has a lot of credibility with me. That’s part of what’s emerging as a sort of free-floating reputation system that will help us find the best sites to go to. It would be wonderful if journalism organizations would point to blogs and say, “Don’t make any crucial life decisions based on what you read here, check things out, but this looks pretty good.” I think you’d find it a good relationship.
OJR: You’re writing about all of the different ways people can use information, can share information, create information. One of the things we’re facing as journalists is how does this change the way behave as journalists? How does this change our interaction with people?
Gillmor: People have to establish new kinds of ground rules. I think there’s a difference in interviewing somebody who’s never been interviewed by a journalist before and a public official. … Cut them some slack. I won’t cut slack to somebody who knows the game. The situation’s different. Journalists are now being confronted with things like people posting transcripts of the interview, which I think is fine. We’re learning something new.
Published by O’Reilly in July under a Creative Commons license that encourages non-commercial re-use, the book is available free on the Internet. It is also being group-translated into Chinese, has been transferred to Lotus Notes and is being audio blogged. Here are some versions of the book now available: