Thursday, June 23, 2005

CBS: "The Web is Going to be our Cable News Network"


Above: CBS Digital's Larry Kramer "gets it."(image via sfgate)

Has someone at CBS Digital been reading this blog? If so, good boy. Continue to do so, and feel free to email us if you need further advice. On the brouhaha over the decline of Evening News and their anchor-palosaurs, The Corsair wrote: "The industrious among us who want 'the real news' can make their way to the 24 hour news channels, each with their own particular biases, and, for the more ambitious, those of us interested after that tragically unhip concept 'Ultimate Reality' -- Or, for liberals who eschew the use of a Final Vocabulary 'The Approximation of Ultimate Reality' -- can chase the varying multiple perspectives of real events from international news sources on the web and public radio and respected global broadcast agencies."

And, more to the point, The Corsair wrote on June 3rd: "What is with CBS News' experimenting with multiple anchors? Is this some sort of homage to postmodernism? Is CBS News "evolving" like Governor Mitt Romney's position on abortion? Of course it will fail. How could it not? Just put on Jon Stewart already. Or a show with rotating bloggers discussing the days news. The Corsair is free, coincidentally, between 6 and 6:30."

Today, Mediacenterblog reports (link via iwantmedia) that CBS Digital has an ambitious idea involving blogs that incorporates many of my arguments:

" founder Larry Kramer, barely two months into his new job as president of CBS Digital, is rapidly implementing major changes to turn CBS News into what sounds like one of the most ambitious experiments in mass media journalism transparency.

"Kramer says CBS News will soon provide coverage of its internal decision-making processes and meetings, including video and interviews wth reporters and producers, along with online access to video interviews cut from television broadcasts.

"CBS will also launch an online edition of its fabled (and recently tarnished) television news magazine, 60 Minutes, and incorporate feedback and video from bloggers."

Nice. (The Corsair tips his tricorn Pirate hat to Larry Kramer)

"... Kramer didn't say when the new services would be launched. He's still breaking the news to CBS News staffers.

"Kramer revealed the plans during a presentation today at The Media Center's Cross Media Teams conference in Reston, Va."

"'You'll see us morph our news business into a web-centric one. We're doing what we call the cable bypass. The web is going to be our cable news network,' Kramer said.

"The move to embrace bloggers and open up the news gathering process would be in stark contrast to how CBS handled a report last fall by anchor Dan Rather on President George Bush's military service records. The report, which came to be known as Rathergate, was quickly challenged by bloggers and eventually retracted by CBS.

"'A lot of people at CBS learned the word blog during the Dan Rather fiasco,' Kramer said."

Bravo, Larry Kramer. Don Hewitt will no doubt poo-poo this forward thinking idea from his retirement nest on Martha's Vinyard, but stick with it. This idea is a keeper. Hewitt will naturally regard it as an attempt to alter the alchemy of his baby. The more responsible blogs -- me, me -- and 60 Minutes are a natural fit. Cheers.

new posts here.


(S)wine said...

Skeptical, skeptical. It is still CBS who will provide insight into its decision-making process. Which makes Robotnik arch his eyebrows only a bit. However, new roads are being built, I agree.

The Corsair said...

Liza: I think that CBS is probably shellshocked by the whole RatherGate thing and the management is thinking: "Whatever we do next will be watched by all the bloggers," so that might be the motivation to include bloggers in the news process. Other than that, I'm not sure.

The Corsair said...

LX: True, true: the big 'uns at CBS -- MSM -- will still call the shots. This is an intriguing development though, no? Best of all, it creates frenetic buzz in 18-35 demographic for evening news, whose usual demo is some 30 years older. And it adds some color to the traditionally "silver-haired Wise man" as anchor outmoded model.