In a time of impending presidential elections, it’s hard to know what and who to trust in the media. Quick judgments inspired by political ads and pundits of every perspective make for some heated debates in the household over issues we have little knowledge about. Situations like this make the choice at the booth a quandary, but even more so when formulating an honest opinion.
Dan Gilmor’s Mediactive, has some solutions to this problem, mainly dealing with being active consumers. By active, he means that we should enhance our media literacy and trust our own judgment rather than accept what’s in the headlines. Gilmor’s experience as a journalist shows in his writing, but not just in the lessons. With the writing easily interpreted by the everyday worker and also appealing to the well-educated, Gilmor emphasizes the importance of the lessons in Mediactive with his diction.
These lessons don’t just emphasize the importance of being skeptical of news reports. Along with promoting media literacy, Gilmor also talks about the importance of being content creators, like blogging and web videos for example. Instead of asking people to become journalists, or citizen journalists for that matter, he wants us to ask a very important question: “What is journalism?” Through this question, Gilmor emphasizes the important acts that contribute to 21st-Century journalism. Whether they are political watchdogs like the Sunlight Foundation, or blogs like Adventures with the Wife in Space, the scope of journalistic acts in our time cannot be ignored.
If you have a blog, a Facebook account, a YouTube channel, or anything similar, you are already contributing to today’s journalism. If not and you’re interested, Gilmor makes learning about the tools of the web simple yet informative. With these tools, you don’t have to just blog about your morning toast or what you heard from the news; you can start debates on subjects you’re unsure about.
That is just one way of becoming Mediactive and a beginning of a better political discourse. While not always guaranteed, a full reading of the book should give you more confidence in your political opinions and media literacy. Not only that, but you’ll know some web tools in case you want to take part in 21st-Century journalism.
The book can be found online at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Lulu, among other publishers. However, you can also read it or download it for free at the book’s official website*, where it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.