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Demystifying newspapers?

Webcasts of daily news meetings open up newsrooms

On the one hand:
"Transparency, that sacred tenet of journalism, is at the core of the idea. No secrets to hide; no mystery about how coverage decisions are made."

On the other:
"In Spokane, some reporters fretted over the camera stifling what can evolve into frank, freewheeling discussions in which participants aren't always concerned about whether something is accurate or potentially libelous."
 

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
tomfoolery815
Jul. 22nd, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
If there was a camera in our budget meetings, they'd see our discussions as to what is most worthy of being on 1A ... but they wouldn't see the same thing they'd see if there were a hidden camera.

I think the discussion would be less candid if we knew we were being watched; ultimately, that's bad for a newspaper, because candid budget-meeting conversations often make for better-reported stories.
13_pines
Jul. 22nd, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
Exactly. This idea seems stifling to me. I don't see how it can be productive at all...you'd basically have to have another meeting after the first was over in order to talk about all the stuff you couldn't talk about on camera.
tomfoolery815
Jul. 22nd, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
Ha! Great icon. :-)

Yeah, budget meetings are strategy sessions. I don't know that any other business would want their strategy sessions on camera, either.

I think this objective, while admirable, can be achieved by having an ombudsman-type column. My previous paper's editor wrote a column each week in which he discussed the inner workings of the operation, the hows and whys of that week's hot story.

13_pines
Jul. 22nd, 2009 01:52 am (UTC)
Thanks. :-)

My previous paper's editor wrote a column each week in which he discussed the inner workings of the operation, the hows and whys of that week's hot story.

That's a really cool idea!
ilovehulajosh
Jul. 22nd, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd like this. I mean how could you discuss in front of a camera how many inches to give to a fatal accident?

I don't know, I wouldn 't feel comfortable doing it if I was working at a newspaper.
13_pines
Jul. 22nd, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
That's precisely why I think it's a bad idea. If staffers are uncomfortable discussing potential stories at meetings that are designed specifically for deciding said stories, then what's the point? You shouldn't have to watch what you say at meetings like that...the point is to have a frank discussion about what's newsworthy for the next issue. Why stifle productivity?

Sometimes it's just better for the public not to know the inner workings of certain things. *points to icon*
tomfoolery815
Jul. 22nd, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
I mean how could you discuss in front of a camera how many inches to give to a fatal accident?
You've hit the nail on the head, Irish. In those meetings, we make decisions on how much coverage to give a story, and where in the paper to run it.

Those decisions could sound insensitive on the surface, and I would hate for someone who knows a person who was killed to think that we are devaluing the deceased's life. We don't. It's in those meetings that we judge the newsworthiness of a particular story compared to the other stories available to us.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )