“more blogs and more humanity”

Keith Porter has posted an interesting piece suggesting that blogging can help create the dialogue required to get “more people sharing tea and beer across cultural divides”. Inspired after learning more about daily life in Gaza from Israeli Lisa Goldman’s blog On The Face, who I had the pleasure of meeting briefly at the WeMedia Forum, he writes:

We need more people creating messy, personal relationships with people they would almost never meet without some kind of a program. Nothing will make people question what they see on their TV screens more than first hand, personal eyewitness experience. Interestingly, blogs are about as close to this concept as the electronic media can come. It is a poor substitute for travel, but it is not nothing.

Whose fault is it that the news organisations fail to bring humanity to the table in their reporting? Porter quotes Russell Merryman, Editor-in-Chief of Al Jazeera’s web and new media division, who wrote this critique:

Mainstream media, especially in the West, is becoming shallow, lazy, trivialised and ever more shrill as 24-hour news networks compete for audiences by trying to outdo one another’s outrage; scaring the audience into staying tuned as they watch yet another stand-up from a correspondent in a hotel who gets more information down the line from the studio than they do from the street.

“Meanwhile newspapers are being led by the nose into competing in the 24-hour news cycle online; spreading their resources ever more thinly as they branch into blogging, podcasting, video journalism and whatever fad and fancy they hope will save them from being eclipsed by the TV news junkies.

So where can you find blogs with an emerging dialogue between cultural divides? I’d personally start at GlobalVoices which has just launched a weekly compilation podcast for those short of time.