Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Priming the pump... some thoughts on Dan Gillmor leaving the San Jose Merc

Posted by Tom Foremski - December 13, 2004

by Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher.com

In an exclusive interview with OhmyNews founders, Dan Gillmor says he is starting a venture to publish an online citizens' newspaper along the lines of the South Korean citizens newspaper OhmyNews.

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Dan Gillmor: Leaving the San Jose Mercury News

And it seems that Dan might be leaving the tech beat too. In the interview, he hasn't said much about tech, or continuing to cover tech.

I'm not sure if that's a good idea. If I can remember the do's and don'ts of Personal Brand Building for Journalists 101, you use your employers brand to build a personal brand associated with a specific expertise / viewpoint / industry. Then you have a better chance of monetizing it later.

I would advise Dan not to give up coverage of the tech beat unless he has exemplary skills as an editor because a citizens newspaper means working with thousands of very enthusiastic amateur journalists. And that means lots, and lots of editing, coaching, and teaching. There is no such thing as "free" content.

Also, why is Dan playing with us? Consider the following:

December 9, 3.59 pm: Dan's decision to launch an online venture is announced first by fellow Merc Silicon Beat bloggers. (This is classic two-bites at the cherry launch strategy: give a pre-brief and exclusive to one publication in advance of the launch.)

December 9 at 7.41pm: Dan announces his departure on his own blog and says the following:

"My colleagues Matt Marshall and Mike Bazeley beat me (and everyone else) to the punch on posting about my departure -- here's their own blog entry. Seems in keeping with the blog world that they got it first."

My good buddy Om Malik on GigaOm points out that Mr. Gillmor is not the first top-tier journalist to leave his job for the blogging world. Some chap called Tom Foremski apparently did it first.

What's next for Dan Gillmor? The OhmyNews interview.

More priming of the pump by Dan at pjnet.org:
July 25, 2004 Gillmor: An OhMyNews Could Have USA Success

June 25, 2004: Media Guerilla (aka Mike Manuel) from Voce Communications runs the results of an informal poll asking which leading tech journalists would leave for the blogging world first:

"Dan received about 60% of the votes, followed by brother Steve Gillmor at eWeek with 22%. Surprisingly, Tom Foremski (despite recent speculation) only garnered 11% of the votes. Neither Jon Udell at InfoWorld or Hiawatha Bray at the Boston Globe received any votes."

cd1958

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