If only Rather had a blog…

CBS News announced its big new internet strategy after hiring CBS Marketwatch founder Larry Kramer as the head. They invited a bunch of bloggers to the press announcement (but I couldn’t attend, being off in my mountain retreat).

Full disclosures (it’s a day for full disclosures): In their early stages of planning, I spoke with Kramer, CBS News President Andrew Heyward, and CBSNews.com editor Dick Meyer offering my two cents.

Features of the new CBS News strategy include:

: A new blog that will “create a candid and robust dialogue between CBS News journalists and the public — a move unprecedented among CBS’s peers in broadcast and cable television journalism.” It will “serve as the conduit between the public and CBS News to take viewers and users inside the news gathering, production and decision-making process via the use of original video and outtakes, interviews with correspondents and producers, and input from independent experts, among other methods.” It’s not an ombudsman; it’s not an anchor blogging; it is an effort to open up two-way communication with CBS’ audience about how CBS News makes its decisions.

They say it’s to be edited — not sure why they don’t say written — by Vaughn Ververs, the National Journal’s editor of The Hotline.

: A “cable bypass strategy” — which is to say that CBS News missed the cable train and so now it’s trying to catch the internet plane. So they will serve news directly to the internet. Broadcasting & Cable reports that this will include a video player called The EyeBox to show 25,000 news clips and an initiative to get TV staffers to feed news to the web 24 hours a day. Let’s hope they have more luck doing this than newspapers have had….

This is a response to many developments: missing out on cable… the growth of the internet as a primary means of delivering news… the shrinking (and aging and dying) of the network news audience… and, yes, l’affaire Rather. If they’d had that blog when the Rather scandal developed, we would have had a place to look for and demand their response and they would have had to have responded. Things might have turned out differently….

If only Rather had a blog….

If only Rather had a blog…

: CBS News announced its big new internet strategy after hiring CBS Marketwatch founder Larry Kramer as the head. They invited a bunch of bloggers to the press announcement (but I couldn’t attend, being off in my mountain retreat).

Full disclosures (it’s a day for full disclosures): In their early stages of planning, I spoke with Kramer, CBS News President Andrew Heyward, and CBSNews.com editor Dick Meyer offering my two cents.

Features of the new CBS News strategy include:

: A new blog that will “create a candid and robust dialogue between CBS News journalists and the public — a move unprecedented among CBS’s peers in broadcast and cable television journalism.” It will “serve as the conduit between the public and CBS News to take viewers and users inside the news gathering, production and decision-making process via the use of original video and outtakes, interviews with correspondents and producers, and input from independent experts, among other methods.” It’s not an ombudsman; it’s not an anchor blogging; it is an effort to open up two-way communication with CBS’ audience about how CBS News makes its decisions.

They say it’s to be edited — not sure why they don’t say written — by Vaughn Ververs, the National Journal’s editor of The Hotline.

: A “cable bypass strategy” — which is to say that CBS News missed the cable train and so now it’s trying to catch the internet plane. So they will serve news directly to the internet. Broadcasting & Cable reports that this will include a video player called The EyeBox to show 25,000 news clips and an initiative to get TV staffers to feed news to the web 24 hours a day. Let’s hope they have more luck doing this than newspapers have had….

This is a response to many developments: missing out on cable… the growth of the internet as a primary means of delivering news… the shrinking (and aging and dying) of the network news audience… and, yes, l’affaire Rather. If they’d had that blog when the Rather scandal developed, we would have had a place to look for and demand their response and they would have had to have responded. Things might have turned out differently….

  • http://michaelzimmer.blogspot.com Michael Zimmer

    “They say it’s to be edited — not sure why they don’t say written…”
    Probably because they want it to be, as you said, a place for “two-way communication.” Which, IMO, a blog still won’t allow, since it is, fundamentally, a 1-way medium (which sometimes allow comments).
    “If they’d had that blog when the Rather scandal developed, we would have had a place to look for and demand their response and they would have had to have responded”
    I don’t see how having a blog would’ve forced CBS to respond? Care to elaborate?

  • jimmy

    Jeff:
    >>”Full disclosures … in their early stages of planning, I spoke with Kramer, CBS News President Andrew Heyward, and CBSNews.com editor Dick Meyer…”
    Full disclosure? Sounds like horn blowing to me. Jeff, this blog has not made you rich or famous. You’re still poor and obscure.
    Sorry.

  • penny

    CBS as well as the rest of the alphabets are incapable of “a candid and robust dialogue” between them and the public. One just need to look at their failure to publish timely corrections, respond to feedback, and admit biases. For God’s sake, this is the “fake, but accurate” crowd.
    Sounds nice until the “public dialogue” part of the equation gets heavily censored, then shut off. They will fail at this also.

  • http://denbeste.nu/Chizumatic/ Steven Den Beste

    I expect this to last about as long as the LATimes’ Wiki experiment lasted.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Well, Jimmy, that’s fine. But if I didn’t disclose, I’d get attacked; if I disclose, I get attacked. Gee, blog readers are such a fun crowd.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    I doubt this would have changed much about the _60 minutes_ / Rather debacle. Their internal investigatory report showed the problem wasn’t a lack of information, but instead ignoring accurate advice. That report is absolutely fascinating regarding how the sausage got made. But one thing is clear – given that cautions from top experts were ignored, blog comments sure weren’t going to matter. A CBS blog would simply have contained the same statements that were made throughout the event.
    The aspect of providing clips might possibly be interesting, though, in terms of raw material for other people to use down the pipelone.

  • Duneview

    Despite Steven Den Beste’s justifiable skepticism (we miss you Steven), this is a genuine opportunity for a post-Rather CBS News to re-brand itself in an arena unencumbered by cable commitments. The elements seem right ñ on-demand 24 hour news, available (and free!) clips, blogs, original content, etc.
    We will see ñ as Steven notes ñ whether they can shake the ghost of Ed Morrow who silently has been looking over their shoulders for 50 years, and blast into the 21st Century.

  • http://www.thewhitepapers.com paul w.
  • HA

    I’ve said it before, but the collapse of the nightly network news is the result of lousy, biased journalism. People simply don’t want to waste a half hour of their time watching shitty journalism with a marxist editorial policy.
    CBS could revive and own the nightly news. First, it must improve the quality of its journalism, adopted a centrist editorial position. But more importantly, it must adopt a PATRIOTIC outlook with respect to American foreign policy and the military. When the zombie marxbots who dominate the rest of the media attack America for the trivialities at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, CBS should defend America against these attacks.

  • burnplant

    adopt a PATRIOTIC outlook
    How about they just let the administration check the newscasts for Patriotic content?
    For someone who references Marx twice in a post, you sure seem to long for the days of Pravda.

  • Penny

    How about vetting documents responsibly so you aren’t trying to alter elections with “fake, but accurate” ones? And when confronted with your behavior fessing up?
    CBS did a Pravda.