We the amazed: I had already put Dan Gillmor’s new book, We the media, in my Amazon.com shopping cart when I received an e-mail telling me to check out pages 137-138. (It’s available free online in PDF files — pages 137-138 are in chapter 7.) Clicking away from Amazon, I read the following passage:
“On February 19, 2004, Rex Hammock was ushered into the Old Executive Office Building in Washington. He and four other small-business people sat down with President George W. Bush for a short discussion on economic issues. It was another in a series of Bush meetings with supporters of the administration’s policies. This one, unlike previous sessions, was closed to the press.
But what White House officials apparently didn’t now—or didn’t care if they did know—was that Hammock, owner of a small publishing company in Tennessee, was a citizen journalist in his own right. On his way back to the airport that day, he wrote on his laptop computer a long and somewhat rambling essay that he soon posted on his weblog. There was no breaking news, but rather a folksy kind of reporting. He wanted to report his impressions rather than discuss policy. “He is definitely not a wonk, but he knows clearly what he believes needs to happen for the country and its economy to prosper,”Hammock wrote of Bush. “I don’t think the circular arguments regarding ‘what ifs’ and ‘what abouts’ interest him. Nor me, for that matter.”
The blog posting, and the media coverage of what this citizen reporter had done in the absenceof standard media coverage, became a mini-story in its own right. One lesson was obvious: excluding The Media from coverage no longer necessarily means much.
Wow. Excuse me while I click over to Amazon.com to add a couple more copies of Dan’s book to my shopping cart.