The All-Inclusive “We”

Upon the completion of reading We the Media, I was prompted to answer the following question:

What is the important point of the book?

The point of We the Media is simple: the face of media is changing. It is no longer necessary to be a member of an “official” news organization to produce news stories.

Gillmor notes that if “people become more engaged with the events around them and especially to the extent that they become journalistic activists, they will be making better citizens of themselves.”

This is a concept that my classmates and I discussed in great detail in one of my other courses this past semester. We the Media explores the idea that audiences are finally embracing their personal responsibility to seek their own truth. For decades, audiences merely passively absorbed information produced for them.

That time has come and gone. With the advent of the Internet, audiences are no longer passive. The Internet created a nearly instantaneous marketplace of ideas. This is an environment where seeking the truth is not only encouraged, but it is necessary. Audiences no longer have to take a reporter’s story at face value; facts can be checked almost instantly.

The implications of this phenomenon creates a system much more complex than simply checks and balances. The Internet gave a voice to the mute in the exchange of ideas. The so-called “citizen journalist” is often not of extensive news or Big Media background, but sometimes someone who has little experience in media. Essentially anyone with a cell phone camera and access to You Tube has the potential to become a journalist.

What does this mean for Big Media? This has essentially upped the ante, so to speak. There is a definite place for Big Media as well as “citizen journalists” at the marketplace of ideas. There will always be a place for credible news sources; now Big Media will have to deal with the fact that their former and current audiences are capable of producing very timely news for themselves as well as their peers. Rather than trying to stifle the citizen journalist’s voice, Big Media should welcome it as another source to draw ideas from.

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