Dan Gillmor: I share the concern that news organizations are cutting their investments. An informed citizenry is crucial to the functioning of the republic and of society as a whole.

I don’t see much hope that commercial journalism organizations will invest more. They are conservative to a fault when it comes to adapting to change. (I hope I am wrong on this, and suspect I’m not.)

But there is a great movement beginning to form. We’re calling it things like “citizen journalism” or “grassroots media” and other names. It is the mass movement of telling each other our stories, via blogs and other media, and exposing our neighbors to news they can’t get other ways.

People are already investing enormous amounts of time in the bottom-up arena. The majority of them are voting via clicks, seeking out better information — or at least different perspectives — to get a better report than the one dropped on their doorstep or on the evening TV show. A subset, a minority but still a lot of people, are folks who want to have their say and want to be part of a conversation, not talked down to in lecture mode by an industry that sees news as just another widget on an assembly line.

It will be absolutely essential that we try to do this new kind of journalism in a good way — not throwing out the best practices and principles of the past but using them to inform and improve that fervor and knowledge from the edge. We can do it together.

Update: Alan Mutter noticed something I missed — profits are rising much faster than sales. There are several ways to make this happen, but one of the obvious ones is to squeeze the journalism expenses, which is precisely what is happening.

More here.