Media watcher Brian Stelter (fresh off this nice profile in the USA Today) devotes part of his TVNewser blog today to discussing some on-air changes happening at MSNBC. Stelter points to part of this Michele Greppi article, where new MSNBC general manager Dan Abrams talks about giving viewers a glimpse behind the scenes. That's right – transparency. Part of that is taking a camera into the control room and airing some of the talk between producers and on-air anchors:
Mr. Abrams plans to use shots of the control room during broadcasts and make viewers privy to the conversations between anchors and producers, he said.Stelter then passes on some advice from a "veteran e-mailer" to his site:
"It's urgent. It's not fake. It's real," Mr. Abrams said. "In the control room, there is often some degree of chaos. The viewer should see more of the process."
MSBNC will debut Mr. Abrams' experiment with transparency as soon as the network is comfortable with the presentation, he said.
"We're trying it out a little bit here and a little bit there," Mr. Abrams said. "Expect to see more of it in the days and weeks to come."
"I think transparency is critical," a veteran e-mailer writes. "But real transparency will take a new way of telling stories. Instead of showing us producers pushing buttons in a control room, Abrams should have his reporters write into their scripts more about the challenges and process of covering a story. Tell us what it's like to be there, how you got there, what it smells like etc. Make it a journey (when appropriate) and leave in some outtakes that show a larger truth (someone closing a door on the reporter, or saying no comment, etc)."[Emphasis by TVNewser]It's an interesting take. Most commonly, efforts at transparency (like Public eye) are separate from the news stories themselves. Should there be more built into the actual news as the e-mailer suggests?