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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Here's a Brilliant Idea for MSM Transparency

Patrick Ruffini has it:

"If MSM really wanted to be transparent (and get a nice traffic bump to boot), they'd arrange for weekly (or daily!) conference calls where bloggers and media critics could question editors and reporters on their coverage that day and put them up as podcasts. The NYT call could be at 10, the WaPo call at 11 ..."

Now that is a superb suggestion and an imminently practical one as well. Let me polish it just a bit - Have the conference call just before the morning news meeting when the various editors gather to plan the day's coverage. That way they will have the critiques of yesterday's work fresh in mind as they make decisions about how to allocate reporting resources for the new day.

Ruffini adds this:

"Because of the fast-moving news cycle, reporters almost never respond to serious criticism, except on their own terms (whatever blog tidbits they choose to write up in cutesy Sunday or Style section pieces) or if pinned down by Hugh on the radio. We're fast moving into an environment where if Glenn Reynolds calls out Aaron Brown, Brown can't afford not to respond on the air, the next night, in a one-on-one debate with Reynolds.

"Every week, Brian Williams should pick out his most serious critic that week and have a five minute back-and-forth on the Nightly News. If MSM is going to do 'storytelling,' they need to stop pretending that they're not part of the story; if they claim to stand for scrutiny and accountability, they need to embrace it in themselves on air, not just on the Web; if they cop to being 'skeptical' but not biased, they need to be skeptical of ANSWER; and if they want to be seen as credible again, they need to be doing rapid response."

Couldn't say it better myself, Patrick.