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Hypergene MediaBlog » MediaShift: Dan Gillmor finds his Center

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Thursday, 02 Feb 2006

MediaShift: Dan Gillmor finds his Center

Dan Gillmor is a brave man.

It takes conviction, guts and perhaps a moment of insanity to leave the position he had as technology journalist and columnist for the San Jose Mercury News and set out to nuture a grassroots journalism site from scratch.

Though his project, Bayosphere, never quite found its groove, Dan has regained his and has not given up on the idea that average citizens can become active contibutors to the news.

PBS’s Mark Glaser interviews him about his new role as founder and director of the non-profit Center for Citizen Media (created along with the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society).

Q: What are the biggest challenges for running a citizen media operation, either independently or within a news organization?

Gillmor: This is a long, long topic. My recent posting discusses how one independent site saw it. I still believe big news organizations could thrive in this environment, given their historical and current reach in their communities. For reasons that elude me they’re basically not trying.

The biggest challenge for everyone in this space is keeping our eye on something crucial: This is all about shifting from the lecture toward a conversation — and also remembering what I’ve been calling the first rule of conversations: You have to listen. We all have things to offer, but we all have more to learn.

And, again, we have to stress the bottom line on which everything else rests: It’s about the audience (even if they’re participants). If there’s not enough worthwhile to bring them in, the rest is relatively unimportant.

Posted on Feb 02, 2006 | 3:31 am EST
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