Sunday, February 23, 2014

Principles for a New Media Literacy, by Dan Gillmor

Dan Gillmor’s paper was published in 2008 in Media Re:public series “of papers exploring the potential and the challenges of the emerging networked digital media environment”. Besides of the work by Gillmor, who is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, the series also consists, of 7 other papers and 4 case studies. Gillmor’s programing paper is also referenced at the Mediactive project at the tools section. The list of digital media tools on the site is subdivided according to the chapters of Gillmor’s paper: tools for educated or convenient “consumption” and the tools for creation of media. Most of the tools are probably well known since it was originally compiled in 2009, but certainly still may be useful for someone, as we can find from the latest comment that was dated September 2013.

In the reality of modern democratized media, when digital tools are widely available and accessible, Gillmor sees the main question for anyone, consuming the information, is about what he/she can trust? Author suggests to re-apply older cultural norms, that are rather principles and practices, in distinctly modern ways. These principles are also posted up on the Mediactive website as, unlike changeable technologies, they are essential for media use.

Perhaps, written firstly from journalistic point of view, they become the same important for everyone simply using social media sites and sharing internet services.  Gillmor reminds,  “democratization gives people who have been mere consumers the ability to be creators.” And the general principle of media literacy by Gillmor and, perhaps, the crucial for modern internet literacy, is the understanding of this overlap between consumers and creators.

Author of the programming work is giving 5 principles for media consumers and 5 for media creators. They are easy to get to know from the web page, and to read again for those who already agrees with the author that they are from common sense and regular journalistic practices but should be applicable for every trustworthy media creation.

The most stimulating and thought provoking Gillmor’s principle was to me the principle of “expanding one’s own vision”. As many years scholar I would agree with Gillmor’s principle, this is certainly also is well known for all researchers - “To be well informed, we need to seek out and pay attention to sources of information that will offer new perspectives and challenge our own assumptions.” Although, current state of open search engines like Google and social media services selectiveness similar to the “echo chamber” effect that Gillmor describes human information consumption behavior,  contradicts with his notion that this may be “easier than ever before, due to the enormous amount of news and analysis available on the Internet.”

I find that principle for media creators, that is worth to remember for librarians’ everyday use as well, is “Be Fair to Everyone” principle. Again, written primarily for journalists' use, it’s an “honorable approach”, as Gilmor points it, and an easiest building trust communication techniques of using “the Web, especially the elemental unit called the hyperlink.” He suggests that by doing that users may easy “point to a variety of material other than [their] own, to support what [they’ve] said and to offer varying perspectives.”

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