Beyond us vs. them

Listening to Howard Finberg and others report about the conference’s discussion of us vs. them, blogs vs. big media, trustworthiness of big media vs. personal media, it strikes me that there is indeed a “trust gap” that exists for many, many thousands of people in the blogosphere when it comes to traditional media.

But I don’t think it’s because of systematic problems in news coverage. I think it’s because of establishment media’s holier-than-thou act and refusal to bring readers into the news equation.

Newspapers have needlessly alienated a substantial portion of the public by refusing to change the process of news to reflect a new interactive era in which readers are producers, commentators and editors instead of merely passive consumers.

The top-down model turns off a lot of people. Of 1,700 or so daily newspapers, how many employ a blogger — perhaps two dozen? Where is the U.S. equivalent of OhmyNews? Where are the daring initiatives to change lectures into conversations — or are such experiments passe in these hard-nosed budget-cutting times?

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