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« Book, Blogging Notes | Main | Saying Goodbye to an Amazing Gig »

January 01, 2005



OK, just to start things off, your ideas seem certainly similar to OhMyNews in Korea and to WikiNews (in wherever). What do you see as the good and the bad in those efforts?

Dan Gillmor

I'm a huge admirer of both projects, and wrote about them at length in the book.

They come at the grassroots piece of things in different ways. WikiNews gives editorial control effectively to the audience. OhmyNews keeps it, more or less. I see valuable lessons in both.

It's important to realize that grassroots journalism won't be a one-size-fits-all phenomenon. There's room for lots of experimentation -- and I expect lots of business models, too.

steve crandall

Have you thought about getting folks like Bill Moyers involved? I had a chat with him last May about blogging and found he was very interested (also skeptical, but that is a good thing).

I wonder if a process similar to "elmering" might be useful. Elmering was/is the mentioning that takes place in amateur radio to pass along non-trivial skill sets. The payment for being elmered is to elmer someone else. So much of what goes on at the grassroots level isn't journalism (not that many professional journalists are really journalists other than by hame) - it would be useful to have some kind of viral education system in place.

step back

Journalism's biggest problem IMHO is separating facts from propaganda.

All too often, journalists end up becoming parrots for those in power. They accept bribes. They accept mindless pablum. Remember the embeds of Iraq? Remember their coverage of how we (US) are "winning" and how the Iraqi people are welcoming our "liberating" troops with flowers and kisses?

Where is the peer review? Journalist taking to task a fellow journalist for conduct unbecoming? That's what your site should be doing. Call them out. Put them to shame. Yes even Dan Rathers. The giants of media are the worst offenders.

Good luck in your new venture.

P.S. How do you make a buck out of this new gig? Banner ads?

Dan Gillmor

Steve, yes indeed -- education is important to this process, and I hope I can help there.

Marc Hedlund

Good luck, Dan, I'm excited to see how things develop.


Very glad you are doing this. As an old geezer but a relatively new blogger I took some inspiration from your interview at the Berkman Institute (I blogged it at and it got a surprisingly warm reception. I/we blog under a pseudonym because in this administration, as academic(s) who depend on federal science grants, we are at risk for even mild critical remarks--and our/my remarks are anything but mild about my funders.

Effect Measure is a public health blog, of which there are surpisingly very few. Public health in this country is demoralized, dispirited and leaderless. Our experiment is to see if we can kickstart a new spirit of "all being in this together." There is an old saying in public health, "None of us is safe if we aren't all safe." The potential for an influenza pandemic is a good example, which we blog heavily on the site (sorry to hear about your flu--I am a physician and it is a really, really nasty disease that under ordinary circumstances kills almost 40,000 Americans a year, 13 times the WTC toll).

So here's to much success in your new venture. Let's roll up our sleeves and start trying to figure out what needs to be done. Happy New Year.


Tell it like it is....

Good luck Dan

Nick Lewis

Dan, I deeply admire your courage for doing this. I read your book, and thought it was an excellent snapshot of "where we are" right now. However, part of the reason this is going to be so difficult is that not only is technology evolving, but also the very mediums (i.e. blogs, wikis). I've been working on technology/organizational end for a startup that you were involved in early on Center for Online Investigative Research. However, because of legal issues, it can't really be a test bed for grass roots journalism. However, it runs on a civicspace platform that I think might be perfect for getting this project off the ground. If you'd like, I can setup a free civicspace site on the new smartcampaigns server to act as a techlab/information center for your project. The team of civicspace developers are working on some very interesting modules, and probably would develop some for your project, if you told them what you need (especially considering your report on them back in may). Anyhow, if your interested, I could setup something like ([grass roots journalism]The domain name could always be changed.), or perhaps any name that you wanted. However, it seems to me that you'll need a commons for the techies and the new journalism pioneers to collaborate, discuss, collect information, and develop the tools and mediums which have yet been named. Let me know if your interested, and I can get it online today. Otherwise, I look forward to reading on how this project develops.

win fowler

Happy New Year and may this effort prosper.


Congratulations, Dan & al., and may grassroots media prosper in 2005 and beyond!

Hanan Levin

When it comes time to actually cutting the cord, only one in a hundred ends up letting go of the cushy paycheck, packing the pens in a box, and starting on a new venture. Congratulations.

Terry Heaton

Nice new digs, Dan. Welcome to the world of finding your own benefits.

The only thing I'd like to say upfront is that you always keep in mind that top-down has nothing to do with grassroots, and the moment you let your thinking drift into that area, you're flirting with danger. Best to you, and let me know if I can help.

mary hodder

Congratulations Dan! This is very exciting, and nerve wracking, and challenging.. but I bet you find that it's so much fun that you could never go back. Lots of good luck and thoughts.

susan mernit

Best wishes, Dan for 2005--for you and your new endeavor!
I'll be reading your new blog, and look forward to seeing your venture take shape.
You say "If anything worthwhile comes of this, and I strongly believe it will, the achievements will be ours, not mine. They will be the result of many people's ideas, good will and effort. If I can help clear a path for people who want to join the vast, global conversation, I'll be happy."
Amen, brother.

Scott Whittaker

Good luck with the new venture. I am sure it will be as insightful, and interesting as your previous column and blog.

Jon Lebkowsky

Dan, this is a great move. Congratulations!

Alan Kellogg

Two bits of advice...

1. Have the courage to stand up for what you say.

2. Have to courage to admit when you are wrong.


Dan ~ What a great way to launch a new year! I have enjoyed reading your eJournal column for a while.

I am new to blogging having used a blog to support my courses (I am a bschool professor) several months ago and taking CommonSenseDesk public last month. I am intrigued by the potential of blogging having already seen the positive impact its use has had on the learning environments I try to create for my students.

I look forward to following your progress in this new venture.

Ed Brill

Dan --
If your new blog and new venture are even a fraction as inspiring as your book, this site will be a must daily-read for me. Good luck to you and we'll be watching.

hugh macleod

Congrats, Dan =)

It takes guts to do what you're doing. Pioneering is a far more dangerous occupation than people often give it credit for.

My hat is off to you, Sir!

Jodi Dean

Sounds very exciting. I haven't read your book yet but it is on my desk, at the top of the pile. My concern: citizen and community journalism in the context of a deeply divided culture, one that values faith and conviction over reason, one that celebrates individual success over collective responsibility. It may be that the roots in the grassroots have become deeply tangled up in forms of hatred and fundamentalism that bode ill for the possibility of forming new solidarities or a new commons.


congratulations, Dan.


Good luck, Dan.

When the control of media shifts from a privileged few to the masses, internet will fulfill its true potential. These are interesting times ..


Time will tell.

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