Gillmor, remember, left his tech writer job at the San Jose Mercury News to start Bayosphere, a San Fransisco area citizen media site. Last week, he published a letter on the site to Bayosphere readers, explaining why the site had pretty much failed to meet expectations. Now Mark Glaser at Media Shift asks him about his new nonprofit Center for Citizen Media.
Gillmor says his center will provide research and analysis for citizen media projects, will help identify best practices (yay! standards!), and will do public education and outreach. That, I think, is the biggest hurdle to citizen media operations. Most Americans just do not get it ... yet. The public in general has to be much more technologically literate than they are to understand what citizen media is, and how (and why) they should participate.
And, of course, it's not just "the readers" who need education. From the interview:
Q: What are the biggest challenges for running a citizen media operation, either independently or within a news organization?
Gillmor: This is a long, long topic. My recent posting discusses howone independent site saw it. I still believe big news organizationscould thrive in this environment, given their historical and currentreach in their communities. For reasons that elude me they’re basicallynot trying.
The biggest challenge for everyone in this space is keeping our eyeon something crucial: This is all about shifting from the lecturetoward a conversation [emphasis mine]— and also remembering what I’ve been calling thefirst rule of conversations: You have to listen. We all have things tooffer, but we all have more to learn.