First wave of feedback on "transparency channel" comes in

First wave of feedback on "transparency channel" comes in

Summary: With regard to ZDNet's experiment in media transparency, Dan Gillmor wrote in his blog:"In an ideal world I'd like to have had access to a full transcript as well, because I a) can read faster than I can listen; and b) I can quote more easily from text than audio. But that's asking a lot, partly because it's not cheap to get transcripts.

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TOPICS: India
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With regard to ZDNet's experiment in media transparency, Dan Gillmor wrote in his blog:


"In an ideal world I'd like to have had access to a full transcript as well, because I a) can read faster than I can listen; and b) I can quote more easily from text than audio. But that's asking a lot, partly because it's not cheap to get transcripts."


Accurate transcriptions is a must have in the name of transparency, but Gillmor is right on about the obstacles. Could costs be kept down by outsourcing it to India? Also, if I do an interview today and send it to India, I probably could have the transcript back by tomorrow morning.

Also of note in the first wave of feedback was the interviewee's thoughts on the issue (which I solicited). Said Userland CEO Scott Young in an e-mail:


"I would be much more comfortable under all circumstances in providing interviews if this was the general practice. I have little doubt this kind of transparency would have a positive (drive towards honesty) effect for all concerned."


Setting up a RSS-based transparency channel for providing readers with the raw data is more difficult than it sounds. In the experiment, raw audio was podcasted and their are enclosure-aware RSS clients like iPodder that automatically know what to do with audio enclosures (eg: put them in your iTunes).

But what's the best way to provision a transparency channel with other forms of raw data like word documents, PDF files, video, and e-mails in a way that streamlines the consumption by those who want to do their own fact checking? As straight downloads? Should text be poured directly into the HTML as I did with this second experiment in transparency of my e-mail correspondence? Or are enclosures the preferred route to facilitate easier subscription, downloading and consumption?

In all cases, the heavy lifting that must be done by the journalist to pour that stuff into a transparency channel is not insignificant. I'd much rather have a button on my Outlook toolbar that says "Post to Transparency Channel" than have to cut and paste from an e-mail into a blog. The tools must improve. Also, to the extent that an enclosure aware RSS aggregator like iPodder knows exactly what to do with audio files, subcribers to transparency channels, should they exist, would need universal enclosure-aware inboxes that know what to do with enclosures of all types. We're not they're yet. Perhaps one day, we will be.

Finally, to keep the experiment going, on a time-permitting basis, I will continue to post some of the raw data that goes into my stories and blogs. However, those postings will appear in a Transparency Channel that I've established as part of my ongoing testing of Radio Userland.




Topic: India

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