In some areas, ordinary citizens have advantages over the media.
Today's media might be likened to tanks in battle.
Although they are capable of delivering fearsome power wherever they focus, they have limited ability to discern the context around them, or to see things that they are not specifically looking at. This can make them vulnerable.
Thus, when it comes to subjects that we all deal with daily, like the quality of life or the true buying power of today's incomes, key media decision makers can be profoundly isolated, in their gleaming office towers and comfortable residential communities.
Is it any wonder that they so often end up doing little more than quoting dry and ultimately unconvincing statistics in these areas? How would most of them know better? No amount of focus groups or statistical surveys can give them the sense of grounding that the rest of us take for granted.
In a wide variety of areas, ordinary citizens are in fact the most appropriate point of origin for setting our larger social agenda. Polls and surveys may try to get at what's on our minds, but if the questions don't address the issues and developments we actually find compelling, they cannot get meaningful answers. What we say spontaneously, of our own volition, is the clearest indicator of what's going on in our lives, and what we care most about.
What has been lacking up to this point is simply a way for key decision makers to get in touch with this.
(c) COPYRIGHT 1998 ROBERT WINTER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.