Category Archives: Book reviews

Mediactive by Dan Gillmor (book review)

Dan Gillmor is an American writer and a journalist. His first book “We the media” was published in 2004 and it described in detail the Internet as the source of opportunities for young, independent journalists.  He is also famous for his blog covering technology news, including copyright issues.

In 2010 he published his second book “Mediactive”, that you can read online here. It is also available for purchase on print via Amazon.

The book is a great help for all media users in the Digital Age – the age where almost everyone can publish and find anything others have published. Gillmor encourages all of us to become media-active users of new media, instead of just being passive consumers because our community can only benefit from what you know. If you have ever posted on Facebook, written a blog or twitted some news, you are in the right direction of becoming media active in the modern  world.

He writes in the book “It’s up to us and not to them” (p.32) to break away from passive consumption role to become active and to stop media monopolies and oligopolies that will sooner than later lead to their huge failures.The combination of innovation, technology  and the will to experiment will break old principles of consuming media and will push more and more amazing ideas to the media world.

He continues providing several principles of  how we should consume media: be skeptical and do not take for granted all what you read, see, hear and use; exercise judgement, be open-minded to ideas that do not coincide with yours, challenge your own ideas and go outside your comfort zone (the learning is all about being curious and challenging yourself constantly), ask questions, understand and learn media techniques including manipulation.

He also addresses the main principles of creation of the trustworthy media like accuracy, transparency and fairness. In Chapter 6 he presents in detail various open source tools like Blogger, WordPress, CMS, Twitter etc. that we should use to become more media active.

I loved when he wrote about the bright future for media students:

I am jealous of my students. I wish I could be their age, starting out when the slate is so blank, when the possibilities are so wide open. They, not my generation, will be among the entrepreneurs who invent the news organizations of the future that will welcome us as co-creators of journalism.The kind of media environment we need, and, ultimately, the kind a democratic society  needs to make informed decisions, won’t come easily. The decisions that will make the new journalism possible lie not only with those who try to practice it, or even  with their audience – the new era will require changes to the legal, social and economic environment. 

Everyone who uses or is part of the media environment should read the book!

Journalism 2.0 by Mark Briggs

The book is written by Mark Briggs – a sportswriter who works as an Assistant Managing Editor for Interactive News at the News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington. The book “Journalism 2.0. How to survive and thrive. A digital guide for the information age” gives a good overview of the web 2.0, news reporting methods online and basic ideas on how to blog better or produce basic video editing and script writing. What I liked about the book is that at the end of each chapter there are few practical assignments that help you practice a bit what you have learnt.

Journalism 2.0 is freely available online

The Net Delusion by E. Morozov

Recently, preparing for my exam on Media and Politics, i came across an amazing and really inspiring book “The Net Delusion” by a Bielorussian journalist and a researcher Evgeny Morozov.

Morozov, being extremely well-informed,  argues that, amid protests in the Arab and Russian worlds, internet only strengthens the Authoritarian regime and Dictatorship of some countries. I especially loved his idea that internet does not bring up  more and more activists nowadays, but rather “slacktivist” or i would call such people “clicktivist” or “liketivist” who believe that just by clicking a button “Like” on Facebook “Save the children in Africa” or “Help to combat the poverty” etc., they automatically become activists. What a delusion….

For all the pessimists and optimists of social networks like Twitter or Facebook, I do strongly recommend to read this informative and lively book!

Have a look also at his talk on TED’s conference.

Evgeny Morozov: How the Net aids dictatorships