Pics by Tino Kreutzer

Dan Gillmor, author of We Media and acclaimed citizen media advocate, was in Cape Town to speak at the University of Cape Town’s Business School about the publishing revolution of the digital age, also known as Citizen Media. Gillmor is co-founder of Dopplr, a social networking service that allows users to create itineraries of their travel plans and an investor in Jimmy Wales’ Wikia.

We know that media no longer controls the information highways. People are bypassing big media via their own blogs, broadcasts and networks — and that is altering the very fabric of society in many senses. Some say this shift in society is comparable to the revolution in the feudal ages which saw power move away from the aristocracy to the people through the invention of the printing presses and mass media.

Usual criticism of blogs brushed aside
Gillmor also had some good answers for the same old criticisms of citizen media that we hear over and over again. He noted that both formal media and traditional media often get it wrong — and that in the digital era of information overload, we need to develop a kind of new media literacy to help us work out whats good and bad. Readers have to be skeptical about what they were reading, no matter what the source.

Gillmor listed some key principles audiences should follow when reading content online, either from formal media or the citizenmediasphere:

  • Skepticism
  • Judgement
  • Research
  • Free thinking (Look at alternatives)
  • Techniques (Readers must be aware that advertising can be manipulative and how it works)

Gillmor reckons that this is the era where transparency is key. It’s now “harder to keep secrets” because of evolving personal media, so companies, media, bloggers — everyone in fact — should be transparent in their conduct.

He said that now is best time to be an entrepreneur: “Innovation is inexpensive. We should be inventing our own jobs. Journalists should be inventing their own jobs.” He reckons there are countless opportunities around micro publishing and niche topics.

Media companies are realising they can work with bloggers and be “guides” as opposed to the “oracles” that they were in the era before the internet. Media organisations can work with their readers to create content, but Gillmor doesn’t approve of media not paying readers for their contributions.

Gillmor has just returned from online journalism conference Highway Africa in Grahamstown, where he was their keynote speaker.

3 Responses to “Dan Gillmor in Cape Town: Transparency is key”
  1. Campaign for “A TRANSPARENT MASS–MEDIA”

    In the rush for sensational and bigger profits, we got use to distortion the reality.

    We present you some negative facts which do not onor us and we fight against it !

    1. The presentation, with regularity in news reports of the negatives aspects, subjectively commented, taking sides or sententious.
    2. The vitiation of Romanian image in the World through resentation of an unauthorized opinions which labels a whole nation after an individual behavior of some Romanians, or even worst, of some Rromi (Gipsy) which have problems with the law.
    3. Repeating the same negatives news in a bigger or smaller period of time.
    4. The periodic generalization of irregularities, like being a rule to follow or a national character feature.
    5. Taking over of unchecked information from persons which has interest and are subordinated of the corrupt triangle – political man – business man – mass media representative, which detour the attention from the true causes of the events.
    6. Often, we see how unprofessional broadcasts have as protagonists some characters, citizens which has problems with the law, having a trivial vocabulary, where are revealed information related with the private life or of trials. We warn you that the justice cannot be done with the television and neither influencing the course of an investigation through all sort of maneuvers or diversions which claims that is a journalistic investigation. We ask ourselves on good reason, if the mass-media didn’t develop his client capitalism.
    7. To abstain ourselves in the attempt to sub-appreciate the state institutes, to encourage the anarchy and the special interest groups which has as purpose the destruction of the force and the authority of the Romanian national state as a right and democratic state.
    8. As we know, the state fundamental law, The Romanian Constitution, claims clearly at article 30, paragraph 6: “the speech freedom cannot prejudice the dignity, the honor, the private life of the person and neither the right of the self imagine”; paragraph 7: “are prohibited by law the defamation of the country and the nation, the inducement of the aggression act, at national, racial, class or religion hate, the incitement to discrimination, to territorial
    separatism to public violence, also the obscene manifestations, which contravene of the good behavior”. Also in article 31, paragraph 3, claims that “the right to the information cannot prejudice the protection measurements of young or the national security”.
    9. In this context, we propose to constitute an organism with juridical authority “National Council Against Manipulation”, as the existing one, named “National Council for Disproof of Discrimination”, which will have the purpose to discourage the media, imagine and ideological war, to forbidden the intoxication of the public opinion through disinformation, but also the over-information.
    10. We address ourselves to the Romanian President, Mr. Traian Basescu,to apply the Constitutional prerogatives, mentioning the article 30, paragraph 5, which states that: “the law can impose to the mass media the obligation of making public the source of financing”.

    The Parliament will have a big responsibility to modify and complete the informational protection law, by consulting “the civil and academic society”.

    The opinion of interested people in this campaign will be published in Romania and abroad.

    President of MASS COMMUNICATION POWER
    Mihail Geogevici

  2. Campaign for “A TRANSPARENT MASS–MEDIA”

    In the rush for sensational and bigger profits, we got use to distortion the reality.

    We present you some negative facts which do not onor us and we fight against it !

    1. The presentation, with regularity in news reports of the negatives aspects, subjectively commented, taking sides or sententious.
    2. The vitiation of Romanian image in the World through resentation of an unauthorized opinions which labels a whole nation after an individual behavior of some Romanians, or even worst, of some Rromi (Gipsy) which have problems with the law.
    3. Repeating the same negatives news in a bigger or smaller period of time.
    4. The periodic generalization of irregularities, like being a rule to follow or a national character feature.
    5. Taking over of unchecked information from persons which has interest and are subordinated of the corrupt triangle – political man – business man – mass media representative, which detour the attention from the true causes of the events.
    6. Often, we see how unprofessional broadcasts have as protagonists some characters, citizens which has problems with the law, having a trivial vocabulary, where are revealed information related with the private life or of trials. We warn you that the justice cannot be done with the television and neither influencing the course of an investigation through all sort of maneuvers or diversions which claims that is a journalistic investigation. We ask ourselves on good reason, if the mass-media didn’t develop his client capitalism.
    7. To abstain ourselves in the attempt to sub-appreciate the state institutes, to encourage the anarchy and the special interest groups which has as purpose the destruction of the force and the authority of the Romanian national state as a right and democratic state.
    8. As we know, the state fundamental law, The Romanian Constitution, claims clearly at article 30, paragraph 6: “the speech freedom cannot prejudice the dignity, the honor, the private life of the person and neither the right of the self imagine”; paragraph 7: “are prohibited by law the defamation of the country and the nation, the inducement of the aggression act, at national, racial, class or religion hate, the incitement to discrimination, to territorial
    separatism to public violence, also the obscene manifestations, which contravene of the good behavior”. Also in article 31, paragraph 3, claims that “the right to the information cannot prejudice the protection measurements of young or the national security”.
    9. In this context, we propose to constitute an organism with juridical authority “National Council Against Manipulation”, as the existing one, named “National Council for Disproof of Discrimination”, which will have the purpose to discourage the media, imagine and ideological war, to forbidden the intoxication of the public opinion through disinformation, but also the over-information.
    10. We address ourselves to the Romanian President, Mr. Traian Basescu,to apply the Constitutional prerogatives, mentioning the article 30, paragraph 5, which states that: “the law can impose to the mass media the obligation of making public the source of financing”.

    The Parliament will have a big responsibility to modify and complete the informational protection law, by consulting “the civil and academic society”.

    The opinion of interested people in this campaign will be published in Romania and abroad.

    President of MASS COMMUNICATION POWER
    Mihail Geogevici

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