Similarly, the government could fashion tax policies that would favor independent ownership of Internet sites, that would favor entrepreneurial investment in minority-owned companies on the Internet, that would favor locally based media, because the problem with the Internet is that there is very little locally based media on the Internet. Everyone wants to reach India and Pakistan and California, but what about the neighborhoods right there in your own city? Depending on what kind of government policies are adopted that would favor and provide preferences for minority ownership of our media system, even on the Internet, then that will determine whether this citizen journalism develops in a different direction or whether it goes back into the old patterns.

What is the next book that needs to be written about the media?

The story of the Internet really has not been told yet. What were the political decisions that were made, not only in the United States, but around the world, to create this incredible information system? What were the decisions that could have been made to move it in a different direction? The Internet plays such a huge role in the lives of so many Americans, but most Americans really have no knowledge of how it developed. And I think that’s something I’d want to read; not necessarily write it, but I’d sort of like to read it.

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Ernest R. Sotomayor is assistant dean for Career Services and Continuing Education at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was previously president of UNITY: Journalists of Color.