Gillmor Wants More Media Transparency

Apr 3, 2013

From social media to blogging to the digital revolution, the world of media news is changing, and if consumers once were expected to passively consume the news they get, they're now demanding more from the people who report the news of the day.

Dan Gillmor welcomes this future. And it's the goal of his new book and project, called Mediactive.

Gilmore will speak in Vermont next week, and says it's still the place he calls home, after spending the early part of his career in the state as a newspaper reporter. These days he teaches digital media entrepreneurship and is a founding director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship program Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Gillmor says while most bloggers have been upfront about their biases, the traditional media should be more transparent.

I'm not radical on this, I don't think we should ask journalists for example to publish their reporter's notebooks in full or show us their tax returns or extreme ideas.

Buthe says trust is earned and there are ways to get trust, such as telling the audience what the agenda is, how the story was reported, or publishing source documents, which Gillmor notes is becoming more common. And he thinks biases,or world views should be explicitly stated.

Gillmor says view many people have of certain publications, like the New York Times and Fox News lack nuance.

I don't mind that there's a right wing TV news channel, what I don't like about Fox is their propensity for not telling the truth, Gillmor explained.

He uses the example of two London papers, The Telegraph, which is right of center and The Guardian, which is left of center, which they both explicitly state. And for transparency, Gillmor notes he writes an occasional column for The Guardian.

I think if the New York Times would only just come out and say yeah, we're liberal on this stuff, I think people would be profoundly unsurprised and go on with their lives, Gillmor said. And he notes that newspapers used to do this. It's only in the latter part of the 20th century that the media felt obliged to say they were going down the center.

Gillmor once worked at the Times Argus and the Vermont Press Bureau. He says smaller newspapers still have an advantage in their tight connection to the community.

I still think there's an opportunity for small organizations that are relentlessly useful and about the communities to serve in a convening role for a conversation the community needs to have with itself, Gillmor said.

Gillmor will be speaking at a public presentation 7:30p.m.Monday, April 8, at the Alumni Auditorium of Champlain College. The event is sponsored by the Vermont Journalism Trust and VTDigger.org.