Out There

Reviews and reports from SXSW Film and Interactive 05



Sunday, March 13

Although some journalists dismiss bloggers as self-absorbed weirdos who write in their pajamas, award-winning technology journalist Dan Gillmor takes a more progressive view. As reporters, bloggers are changing the new media to the "me" media, among which the individual voice is as important as the events the blogger is reporting on – typically in first-person narrative, but not always with an unrelenting focus on navel-gazing. "We used to say journalists write the first draft of history," Gillmor said. Following the 9/11 attacks he realized that charge shifted to the blogosphere when he read a post from a New York City blogger: "'Now I know what a burning city smells like.'" That and similar work using text, images, shared information, and, more importantly, a means to interact, told Gillmor that "getting the news" no longer means turning on the TV. "News in the past was a lecture," Gillmor said. "A we-tell, you-buy system. Now, it's changed into a conversation." The power over information has shifted from "those who can buy and own presses to a more consumer-oriented, grassroots-generated media that is cheaper, faster, and transparent." But the blogosphere is not without its problems, as one audience member suggested when asking Gillmor if he thought there was bloodlust among certain bloggers whose sole intent appears to be destruction. "Yes, it happens," Gillmor said. "I think the answer to hearing speech you don't like is to create better speech," he said. "We need more forms of media, not less."

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