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We The Media (Chapter 7-12)

Chapter Seven: The Former Audience Joins the Part

 Blogging has opened up a world of “civil engagement”. Bloggers are able to cover stories that wouldn’t necessarily get air time or the space needed in newspapers, and cover them in much more detail. Because almost everyone has access to a blog, regular people are able to report on events that are closed to the press, thus reinventing the shape of journalism. Blogs in other countries, where free speech is not as pronounced as in America, have become an avenue for social discourse. For examples, blogs written in Iraq provide firsthand accounts to the rest of the world what life was like in the occupied country. Many of today’s more popular bloggers are also making a business off their sites. Things like Google’s AdWords and Blogads provide revenue for many blogs.

Chapter Eight: Next Steps

Moore’s Law says that the number of transmitters on a circuit will double every two years. Metcalfe’s Law says that the value of a network is equal to the number of connected users squared. Reed’s Law say that the number of networks on a site can grow exponentially as the network grows. More or less these laws give the opinion that the internet is growing and will keep growing over time. As it grows, more and more people will become “citizen journalists”, posting not only stories, but also video and photography, taken from basic objects like smartphones. This advancement in technology will allow systems to compile more and more personal data on their users, which may prove to be helpful in the future of journalism.

Chapter Nine: Trolls, Spin, and the Boundaries of Trust

The publishing of online stories and photos create a problem of trust for the journalism industry. Articles can sometime spread across the internet with missing words or sentences, taking thing out of context and completely altering the meaning of the story. Photographs too can be edited in Photoshop to convey something completely different than what happened. To prevent this, readers of online media need to look closely at the sources their news is coming from and determine if they are reliable or not. This creates a problem however, because anonymity on the internet allows many people to write things they otherwise wouldn’t or couldn’t say if their name was attached.

Chapter Ten: Here Come the Judges (and the Lawyers)

 While most bloggers have been relatively free of libel cases because they only write about public figures or simply link to others scandalous stories, it is the people who comment on posts and websites that have been getting in trouble with the law. The question of anonymity, and whether commenters have a right to retain theirs when they make allegation against companies, has been a pressing legal issue. Plagiarism and copy right and trademark infringement has also become a problem on the internet, especially with domain names. Bloggers also run in to issues when it comes to linking. Linking to anything that is considered a dangerous or illegal page could put the blogger at risk.

Chapter Eleven: The Empire Strikes Back

The internet appeared at first like it would be an open platform for information and communications, but like all things, big corporations and governments have found away to invade it, putting restrictions on things that were once free. One example of this would be the Chinese government who took internet access in to their own hands and blocked numerous blogs and sites that had different ideals than their communist government.  Gillmor’s biggest qualm seems to be with copy right laws. He believes that these firm laws are restricting innovation and limiting what can be posted on the internet. These copy right laws are also felt in the entertainment industry, with new technology that limit their use, for example, only allowing a certain DVD or downloaded song to play on one computer. Unfortunately, this technology also makes the sampling of quotes or portions of something, which would usually fall under “fair use” laws, impossible.

Chapter Twelve: Making Our Own News

As Dan Gillmor shows throughout We the Media, the face of technology and the internet is constantly changing, and journalism, both big media outlets and civilian journalists, are adapting to find their place in it. Gillmor himself chose to make this book available online as an ode to openness; hoping that when people read his work they will become involved in a social discussion—a goal he thinks should be in the forefront of journalist’s minds.

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