Dan Gillmore, We The Media

Dan Gillmor was the first mainstream journalist (that I remember) who published a weblog. What might be even more surprising is that the paper he writes for—The San Jose Mercury News—gave him the freedom to experiment with the format. (Many offline newspapers have yet to discover how the web's first native format can fit into their own websites.) So Gillmor has been participating through weblogs for a long time, and tonight at Powell's Tech he gave a personal history of his growing awareness of the ways new media technology are changing journalism.

Dan Gillmor

I was surprised that his talk wasn't completely focused on weblogs. Of course he mentioned them, but his major "data points" where he realized journalism was changing revolved around mailing lists. He also talked about his new book, We the media, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Gillmor's message about weblogs and the web is not about revolt against big J—or dismissing weblogs as narcissism. I think it's easy to pick one of these camps and fight, but Gillmor has a stake in each camp. All of the ideas he mentioned tonight about these new channels of communication were intertwined with stories from his own experience, which is a very blog-like way to present things. Maybe blogs will end up helping mainstream journalists speak to people on a more personal level.

The energetic Paul Graham was also there to talk about his latest book, Hackers and Painters. He read from the endnotes, and I'm sure it didn't do his book justice. There wasn't much about the spirit of hacking in what I heard. They ran out of his book so I'll have to pick it up another time.

Paul Grahm