Dan Gillmor, an internationally recognized author and leader in new media and citizen-based journalism, is the founding director of the new Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship and the Kauffman Professor of Digital Media Entrepreneurship.
Gillmor, a 1981 graduate of the University of Vermont, started his journalism career at the Valley Voice in Middlebury, Vt., before moving to the Times Argus in Barre-Montpelier, Vt. In 1984 he joined the Kansas City Times, where he became regional correspondent covering politics and the rural economy. During the 1986-87 academic year he was fellow at the University of Michigan in what is now called the Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellows program.
In 1988 Gillmor moved to the Detroit Free Press, where he covered transportation, regional affairs and technology. He was an early practitioner there of computer-assisted reporting, and became one of the first journalists at a traditional media company to use the Internet as part of his work.
Gillmor joined the San Jose Mercury News in 1994, writing a widely read column and blog that chronicled the dot-com revolution in Silicon Valley, and technology’s wider impact on policy and society. His blog is believed to have been the first by a journalist for a mainstream journalism organization.
In 2004 he published “We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People,” a book on citizen journalism that has been published in six languages. The book is widely recognized as the first to explain how the collision of journalism and technology has democratized the creation of and access to media, and why it matters.
In 2005 Gillmor left the Mercury News to work on grassroots media projects, including Bayosphere, a for-profit citizen-media effort that did not achieve critical mass and was subsequently sold. He counts that failure as by far the most valuable learning experience of his career. He has subsequently been an early-stage investor in several new media startups including Silicon Valley-based Wikia Inc., founded by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and Seesmic, an online video company. Gillmor is co-founder of Helsinki-based Dopplr, a travel-related startup that recently received angel funding, and an upcoming media-related venture.
Gillmor continues to write in blogs and other media, including a regular op-ed column in PR Week magazine and guest columns on the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital site. He is working on a new book about digital media literacy, and speaks frequently at conferences and major universities around the world on media and technology topics; his itinerary in 2007 took him to Europe, Asia and South America, including several trips sponsored by the U.S. State Department.
A member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, Gillmor serves on boards of directors or advisory boards for several media-related nonprofits including the California First Amendment Coalition, the Knight New Media Center at USC and UC-Berkeley, Global Voices Online and NewsTrust. Before starting his journalism career, Gillmor was a professional musician.