News meets the people

News meets the people

: When I do those MSNBC what’s-on-the-blogs gigs, I try to find new voices and new names because I think that’s the point: This should be about finding the authentic voice of the people and in this medium, that means the voices of many people. (See a few of the links from Friday below.)

That is why I’m glad to see MSNBC and CNN quoting bloggers. That is my response to the quota counters. And that is my response, too, to Chris Nolan, who wonders why I bother to appear on big media when I am so triumphal about small media. One answer to her question is obvious: Ego — raging, unquenchable ego.

But the other answer is that what fascinates me and encourages me about the future of news is seeing these media intersect: the reporting resources — and, yes, megaphone voice — of big media meets the many small but real voices of the people in blogs, and together I hope they can give us a better view of not only the news but also of news the public cares about.

But there are risks. In the short time available to get ready for a news segment, I find blogs commenting on the story du jour via Technorati and Pubsub and I try to find those that are articulate and seem to have some history and links.

On one of the segments Friday, they found and interviewed a blogger I hadn’t seen who’d been writing about the Shiavo case and that seemed fine until, at the end of it, he said that people were saying on his blog that as Terri’s feeding tube was taken out, she suddenly started talking and begging them to stop. Uh, well, that’s hardly news and obviously not fact; it’s downright nutty. But here it comes on a news show.

And that’s the risk: You could argue that the reputations of both the news network and bloggers are now touched by this guy. But I think the risk is worthwhile. For I believe the public has the good sense to judge the voice of the occasional loopy blogger for what it is. It’s no different, really, from going out for random man-on-the-street interviews, or picking up the phone on talk radio: Some people are worth listening to, others aren’t. And if you quote blogs, you can quote that which makes sense; if you interview bloggers, you may hit the occasional one who doesn’t make sense once he opens his mouth. That’s life. It’s worth the risk to hear new voices, new viewpoints.