Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 5 Research Report "Who's a journalist? Does that matter?"

Connor Revsbeck
Journalism 201-305

            While journalism has gone through many changes in the way it has been reported over the years, one thing generally remained constant; people knew who was a journalist and what those journalist’s jobs were. However things have begun to change, over the past several years as technology increased, almost anyone could distribute useful information in any number of ways. Due to this, it has become harder to label just exactly who is a journalist and who is not.  In the article “Who’s a journalist? Does that matter?” written by Dan Gillmor, published on the website in 2010, Gillmor’s overlying theme is that he is conflicted about who is considered a journalist in this new era of journalism. Throughout the article Gillmor emphasizes that anyone is capable of doing something with journalistic value, yet not everyone is a journalist. Understandably, this confuses Gillmor, which is why he is reaching out to his audience to help him gain a better idea of what to call people with journalist value in this new era.
First, we need to understand just exactly who Dan Gillmor is, and why he would be interested in finding a name for the people whom provide information in the new-media ecosystem. Dan Gillmor is currently an American technology writer and columnist. Also, he is the director the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Gillmor has written three books titled “We the Media”, “For the People” and “Mediactive”. Not only is Gillmor an established author, but also he has received several awards and honors for his role in journalism, such as the “EFF Pioneer Award” and the “Technology award for Media and Journalism”. Over the course of Gillmor’s career he has jumped around working for different news paper companies like the Kansas City Times, Detroit Free Press, and the San Jose Mercury News.
            In 2005 Gilmore started up a venture for citizen journal titled “Bayosphere” which, according to Gillmor, “Primary focus was on the citizen’s journalism process” ( Gillmor emphasized letting everyday people work on doing whatever kind of journalism they desired. Unfortunately Bayosphere was shut down in 2006 because it had a “Lack of Focus”. Essentially, what Gillmor wanted from Bayosphere had happened, people were posting and doing their own kind of journalism, however, it was too broad and couldn’t gather a following.

             I find it interesting that Gillmor wanted to give people the power to do their own form of journalism thorough Bayosphere in 2005, whatever that may have been, and now knowing that people have started to take full advantage of that power, he doesn’t know what to call them. Gillmor states in his article, “Do we need a new name for the modern media creators, specifically the ones who are creating information of value to communities? I’d like to find one but I confess, I’m not having an easy time of it”. I wonder what Gillmor would have called the members of his journal had Bayosphere gained more attention, because when you think about it, the people that Gillmor wanted to reach out to, are these exact nameless people of journalism in today’s society. 

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