I’m not ready for prime time

Last week, I did an interview for the CBS Evening News about the online civility discussion. It didn’t make it to air (after my Free Speech segment also did not see the light of video, I’m getting a complex). So now it’s an online exclusive, an Eye to Eye segment intro-ed by Katie herself. You can watch it here. Given CBS’ new video-everywhere deals, I think I’ll soon be able to embed such a segment. But now I can only link to it.

The taping of the segment was both funny and emblematic of how big TV works. I did the whole interview looking at the camera in Washington while Daniel Sieberg asked the questions in New York. But after we finished it all, they realized they’d set up the shot wrong — “wrong” being a relative term, relevant to the orthodoxy of old TV. I was looking straight at the camera but Daniel was looking to the side, as if we were in the same room with bookshelves behind each of us. That’s how they often make such interviews. But we were now now in visual sync. So we went through it twice again with him asking me the questions — once with him looking at the camera and once with me looking to the side. Sadly, I didn’t do as well the second or third time around. On the air, they surely would have edited it the “right” way. But when they put it up online, to their credit, they didn’t let that broadcast orthodoxy worry them; they put up the better discussion — my to-the-camera answers with his to-the-side questions — and they let it run more than 1:30 (I start getting tired of even myself at the 5:00 mark).

  • http://billkosloskymd.typepad.com/wirelessdoc/ Bill K

    I have a couple of questions about how this video is positioned, and I think it points to the cluelessness of the MSM.

    They say your video is “Only available on the Web,” which would suggest that broadcast TV is more pervasive. Then Katie describes you as the “Founder of Buzzmachine.” Hey, you set up a blog–millions have done this. Why doesn’t she admit to reading your blog if in her mind it’s so auspicious in its scope and influence?

    Next, she uses Imus to introduce what I thought was a discussion that originated with the Kathy Sierra controversy. What does Imus have to do with the Web? That’s her medium’s dilemma.

    It seems the more the MSM reports on the Web, the more it becomes apparent that they’re not involved in it. Either intentionally or not, the effect is still the same.

    Why didn’t Katie say something like, “I’ve been reading posts on various blogs about codes of conduct, and I think….” It’s as if she’s reporting from another planet, and she’s talking about some alien culture, and you’re one of the leaders of the little purple people.

    But, I’m glad I didn’t hear, “Some people may say…”

  • http://blogs.opml.org/amyloo amyloo

    I guess there could be all kinds of good and bad reasons, or no reason at all, for not airing it, but do you have any ideas? Have to say first thing I considered was that it wasn’t the story they wanted to tell, and that “the internet is a horrible ungodly place” might have made the cut.

    (billk, I think a lot of folks see parallels between the Imus and Sierra matters)

  • http://billkosloskymd.typepad.com/wirelessdoc/ Bill K

    amyloo: I don’t see how any reasonable person could condone the speech directed at Sierra. Imus’ rants, which I don’t condone, have been going on for decades with pols and MSM types participating in his show knowing this.

    With the Web, you have the time and space to explore nuances. On the evening news, time and attention are fleeting quantities. This might promote the practice of piggybacking high profile stories. Jeff’s video was not considered worthwhile for their show, but now it’s on the Web where it can not only be viewed, but also discussed.

    Maybe this is my misperception, but how long does the Web need to seek legitimacy from the MSM?

    I don’t doubt the opinions of “a lot of folks.” What’s yours?

  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society Robert Feinman

    Jeff:
    Why would you agree to participate in a deception which makes a rehearsed interview look spontaneous?

    All this B roll stuff and other tricks of the trade have no place in news broadcasts. It may be a minor deception, but it is a deception just the same.

    If an interview is edited it should be indicated by some means such as the white flashes that are sometimes used. Cutting away to cover a skip is also misleading.

  • http://www.rosenblumtv.com Rosenblum

    If you wonder where all their millions and millions of dollars go (after they have paid their ‘talent’ their salaries)… look no further. Without a doubt, on a per minute basis, networks are the most cost inefficient companies on the planet. The Soviet Union was a close second..

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