At the Museum of Television & Radio Media Center’s confab among mogulmen and bloggers, CBS News President Andrew Heyward stunned the listening when he said that news has to change in fundamental, once-heretical ways. I called it then “a big moment, reflecting a cultural change in meanstream news.” Jay Rosen was wise enough to go get Andrew to repeat himself and expand on it and he got others to react. Heyward’s three new laws of news:
One: Truth is a Plural
We have to abandon any claim to omniscience….
This means not just recognizing that on most matters there are multiple points of view out there as opposed to a single, discoverable “truth,” but also — and this is just as important — acknowledging that the world is a complicated place, and the stories and issues we cover are not always reducible to simple, television-friendly explanations.
However, that cannot be an excuse for us to shrug our shoulders and abdicate our core responsibility to strive for the highest standards of accuracy, fairness, and thoroughness. …
Two: Yes to Point-of-View Journalism
We have to figure out a way to incorporate point of view, even while protecting the notion of fair-minded journalism dedicated to accurate reporting without fear or favor. …
Three: News Has an Authenticity Problem
We have to break down the tired formulas of television news and find a more authentic way of writing, speaking, and interacting with the people and subjects we report on.
Here’s hoping that the management and culture of CBS allow Heyward to start enforcing his laws.