Dan Gillmor @BlogBoat

Dan Gillmor @BlogBoat, pic by lvb.net

Yesterday I attended the Blogboat event organised by Chips vzw.

During the afternoon session, citizen journalism expert Dan Gillmor gave a glimpse of the new book he is writing. It will deal with principles for news consumers. According to Gillmor, news consumers should look at the news with skepticism and judgment. Moreover they should do research when something isn’t clear or when they need a second opinion.

“That’s exactly what the people who sold their stocks after hearing that Steve Jobs had a heart attack, didn’t do. It was their stupidity to immediately believe that false news. Which makes them responsible as well, and not only the citizen journalist who wrote the article.” (When Googling, I found a lot of people blaming the citizen journalist who wrote the news (eg this one)).

The fourth principle mentioned by Gilmor is independence. He encourages news consumers to read stuff that challenges what they believe. Last but not least Gillmor wants people to be aware of and recognize the techniques used by journalists to persuade them of something.

According to Gillmor, we are moving to the Daily Us (versus the Daily Me) or community driven news. Popularity and reputation will play the most important roles within that model. “And who ever succeeds in combining those two, will be big”. This Daily Us will be driven by thouroughness, accuracy, fairness, independence and transparancy. “Principles every journalist agrees on.”

In order to achieve this Daily Us, the participation of traditional media and the help of citizen journalists are needed, says Gillmor. But also parents and schools are of the utmost importance, in learning children how to deal with news. “Children should know that Wikipedia is the best starting point, but the worst place to stop.”