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Updated 10:00 AM September 12, 2005




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Journalist to discuss grassroots media and democracy

Big changes in the business of journalism sparked by the online revolution are among topics to be addressed by Dan Gillmor Sept. 22 when he delivers the 2005 Graham Hovey Lecture, entitled, "We the Media: Online Journalism and Democracy."
(Photo by Elisabeth Fall)

"I'd say that the biggest changes are from the business side, and they're pretty grim for the mainstream," says Gillmor, a former columnist at the San Jose Mercury News, Detroit Free Press and Kansas City Times.

"The business model is crumbling, largely due to online competition, and no one is sure how to fix this," he says." Gillmor will discuss the advent of grassroots media and its meaning in a democracy.

The lecture is at 4:30 p.m. at Wallace House Gardens. Gillmor is founder of Grassroots Media Inc.—a project aimed at expanding the reach of grassroots journalism, which he defines as a process that brings more voices into the mix, and contributes to the transformation from a lecture mode of journalism into a conversational one.

"We are moving into a new era of communications, media and journalism," he says. "Phones epitomized one-to-one communications. Mass media of the 20th century epitomized one-to-many, and so did big-scale journalism. Now we're in an era of many-to-many, and few-to-few, communications, brought about by the Internet's increasing reach and the availability of decreasingly expensive and increasingly easy-to-use communications tools."

Gillmor studied history, political theory and economics at U-M as a 1986-87 Knight-Wallace Fellow. After working in traditional media, he founded Grassroots Media Inc. to expand the reach of grassroots journalism. He is the author of "We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People" published by O'Reilly Media in 2004.

"We should not be trying to replace traditional journalism with new media, though many wish we could," he says. "We need to preserve what's best in the mass media while incorporating the many-to-many communications into the larger ecosystem."

The 20th annual lecture honors retired journalism fellows director Hovey, a former foreign correspondent for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a Washington correspondent and editorial writer for The New York Times.

A reception will follow the lecture. For more information or to RSVP, call (734) 998-7666.

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