A year ago, Dan Gillmor—reporter and commentator at the San Jose Mercury News—posted a book proposal and
outline (to be published by O’Reilly; includes an abstract of each chapter) for Making the News: What
Happens to Journalism and Society When Every Reader Can Be a Writer (Editor, Producer, Etc.). Yesterday
Gillmor posted drafts of the introduction (2500 words)
and first chapter
(6600 words). He’s requesting comment on the draft text:
My editors and I are most interested in your immediate feedback on:
- What’s missing—that is, a topic or perfect anecdote that absolutely has to be included.
- More important, what’s wrong. If there’s a factual error I want to fix it before the book is published.
In both cases I’ll ask that you send me e-mail at email@example.com, and please include your phone number in case I need to contact you. Otherwise, feel
free to comment on and discuss (or ignore) what you’ve read in the comment-posting area below.
Chapter 1, “From Tom Paine to Talk Radio and Beyond,” starts out mentioning Roosevelt’s and Kennedy’s deaths and
the Al Qaeda hijack attacks, then says the news is being changed by the Internet. He backsteps for the deeper
analysis by taking us through Paine’s broadsheets, 19th-century muckraking, the introduction of radio, newspapers,
I.F. Stone, Berners-Lee, McLuhan, talk radio, Cluetrain, Winer/Manila, and much more. Random
- The intro makes the “tipping point” out to be March 26, 2002, when Gillmor and Doc Searls were blogging a
speech by the CEO of Qwest. (“Why am I’m telling this story? Because journalism hit a pivot point that March
morning.”) But Chapter 1 makes “9/11” the tipping point: “The first draft of history was being written, in part, by
the former audience.”
- Like xian, Gillmor has a personal anecdote about his first wired experience, on CompuServe in 1985. But: “Of
course, I didn’t fully get it. I spent the 1986-87 academic year on a fellowship at the University of Michigan,
which in those days was at the heart of the Internet — then still a university, government and research network of
networks — without managing to notice the Internet.”
- Good subheadings: “Writing the Web, Raising a Barn”; “Open Sourcing the News”; “Terror Turns Journalism’s
I think he leans too heavily on “9/11”; one commentor really ripped him on this, and in fact the comments are
more critical than I expected them to be. The best line in the comments is also the most revealing: “It’s a nicely
written piece but that’s it biggest failing.”
So: another related title, this one about the intersection of blogging and journalism. No sign of it on Amazon,
B&N, or O’Reilly’s site yet. BTW, he has a chapter on “what happens when the audience is part of the
process”—how his weblog affects the book.