January 5, 2010

6 questions for the author of ‘Be the Media’

David Mathison

David Mathison on ‘the emerging media model of abundance’

JD LasicaSince last spring, David Mathison has been barnstorming the country, bringing the message of grassroots, accessible, citizen-based media to would-be journalists, filmmakers, musicians, podcasters, independent business people — anyone with an interest in creating media.

David’s book Be the Media: How to Create and Accelerate Your Message … Your Way is the most authoritative guide to the personal media revolution, which was just taking off in a big way when my book Darknet came out in 2005. Here, David offers a detailed guide for those with something to share and a look at the burgeoning community media landscape, from local online publications and social networks to personal broadcasting networks. Download sample chapters from the Be the Media website, then go out and buy the soft-cover edition.

I met David Mathison last summer at the Open Video conference in New York and followed up by attending a webinar he gave on effective use of citizen media. He took time out from his travels for this Q&A:

1 Tell us in general about Be the Media. Why did you write the book and what kind of reception are you getting?

Be The Media taps into people’s desires to communicate, connect, and collaborate. The book has been successful because it shows how anyone can create a global product launch that can potentially change the world. The book teaches people how to build a global or local base and widely spread their messages. It can also be seen as a detailed business plan for creating one’s own diversified media company. The book has been adopted at some of the country’s most respected schools, such as the University of Missouri School of Journalism, which is using it for a course called “Economics and Finance of the Media.”

2 Your book smartly takes a broad view of what it means to “be the media.” Tell us how regular people are now creating and distributing their own music, radio shows, digital films or periodicals. Which of these is resonating with people?

Context is key. When we exhibit at a book conference, writers are initially attracted to the chapters on

“Democracy depends on engaged, active, and knowledgeable citizens, and media literacy is an important component of that.”
— David Mathison

Self-publishing and Blogging. At a music conference, musicians like the chapters on Radio, Podcasting, and Music. But they all quickly see the benefits of the other chapters — everyone needs to know about leveraging web sites, social media, licensing, syndication, print, audio, and video, and so on. Artists need to match their fans’ media consumption habits and pocketbooks. This means getting the message out via print, audio, video, interactive, and experiential events.

Inclusiveness was one of the main goals of the book — our audience includes not only writers, musicians, filmmakers, and journalists, but also entrepreneurs, politicians, activists, and the general public. After all, democracy depends on engaged, active, and knowledgeable citizens, and media literacy is an important component of that. Continue reading