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Dan Gillmor

Digital Media Expert
    Topics & Types

    Dan Gillmor is an expert on digital media entrepreneurship and digital media literacy. He is director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

    He is also the author of several books and a popular blog on the subject of digital media. His book Mediactive addresses how to take control of the information overload and make it work for us by being active consumers and users. His most recent book, Permission Taken, looks at how users can take back some of the control that companies and governments are exerting over the way we use technology and communicate. His first book, We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, describes the internet as an opportunity for independent journalists to challenge the consolidation of traditional media and contains Gillmor’s widely cited realization: “My readers know more than I do.” It has been translated into many foreign languages, including Korean and Arabic. He also writes articles and commentary for the Guardian.

    Dan Gillmor’s life has been in media — music, newspapers, online, books, investing, and education. From 1994–2005 he was a columnist at the San Jose Mercury News, Silicon Valley’s daily newspaper, and wrote a blog for He was the leading chronicler of the dot-com boom and its subsequent bust, and the blog was one of the first one its kind by a journalist for a traditional media company. In 1999, he began writing a blog for Mercury News but left in 2005 to work on a start-up venture in citizen journalism called Bayosphere, which aimed to “make it easier for the public to report and publish on the Internet.” Gillmor considers Bayosphere’s closing one of his “best learning experiences.” Early in his career, he was with the Kansas City Times and several newspapers in Vermont, followed by six years at the Detroit Free Press. Over the years he has also freelanced for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Economist, Financial Times, and many other publications. Gillmor won the EFF Pioneer Award in 2002 and the World Technology Award for Media & Journalism in 2004.

    Gillmor is the co-founder of Dopplr, a travel site and “social atlas,” and Citizen Media Law Project. He is an advisor for FON, a collaborative Wi-Fi company; Global Voices Online, a nonprofit global blog network;, a startup working on new journalism business models;, a site aggregating journalists’ links and ideas; and, an error tracking project. He is a board member at the Banyan Project, which is developing a co-op model for community news; Pen Plus Bytes at the International Institute of ICT Journalism, a nonprofit based in Ghana; and First Amendment Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes free speech and open government.

    He was a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he studied history, political theory, and economics. Before becoming a journalist, Gillmor worked as a musician for seven years.

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