ZDNet conducts experiment in media transparency

ZDNet conducts experiment in media transparency

Summary: Serendipitiously, just when big media and grass roots journalists (akabloggers) are coming under fire for a variety of transgressions incredibility, has a multimedia publish-and subscribe technology known as podcasting come to therescue, enabling journalists to broadcast new "transparency channels"that prove their credibility?

TOPICS: Tech Industry
Serendipitiously, just when big media and grass roots journalists (aka bloggers) are coming under fire for a variety of transgressions in credibility, has a multimedia publish-and subscribe technology known as podcasting come to the rescue, enabling journalists to broadcast new "transparency channels" that prove their credibility?

In ZDNet's proof-of-concept of such a transparency channel, executive editor David Berlind's experiment includes a column that relies on quotes from a recorded interview and then podcasts the uncensored and unedited recording using the RSS feed that's associated with my media transparency channel (also see ZDNet's Podcasts: What they are and how best to tune into them).

In the name of offering a view of the raw materials that journalists might otherwise obscure from public view (what could be considered a form of media transparency), not only was the raw recording podcasted, the column itself contains in-line time-codes in the text that allows readers to fast foward to exact location of the quotes in the audio file (download the MP3, which also contains an explanation of the experiment). This way, readers can check them to see if the interviewee (in this case, Scott Young, CEO of Userland) was misquoted, taken out of context, or if the interview was directed in a way that forced Young into saying something he might not otherwise volunteer (some journalists are accused of pursuing an agenda).

With transparency channels like these, readers might be able to better gauge the credibility of a journalist or media outfit. For a full explanation of the experiment, see Can technology close the credibiity gap? or check out ZDNet's Special Report: Media credibility: Where podcasting meets transparency. More importantly, let us know what you think using TalkBalk below.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • credibility

    Now, Dave, I am watching you, aren't I?

    It s the second talkback that I start today following your stories.

    You must be striking a chord

    Just two things:

    - sources: I personally think that sources should be quoted where possible, but some sources dont want to be quoted, let alone linked to. That s an historical problem for credibiity, therefore journalists sometimes must vouch for their own credibility

    - while I very much like the tracking tecnique that you sample, linking to sources of info can be done equally well with text, dont you think?


    Paola Di Maio
    • sources


      I see your talkbacks in both places and thanks for "watching." Definitely fun to open the kimono here and see the response. I agree with you. A story gets built off a variety of building blocks. Could be text, audio, video, etc. Some of those building blocks are already out there on the Net, and as a journalist, I don't have to do anything but link to them. But when the raw materials aren't on the Web, what I'm suggesting is that there's a way to put them there and make them readily accessbile. One question, what happens when you have to thread the source through the net. Sort of like the old game of telephone. Here's an example of what I'm talking about: The other day, I wrote a blog about how an analyst on Wall Street said blogs are insignificant. That assessment came to me through another reporter who was interviewing me for a story on blogs. When I published it, someone (I'm not sure who) started a wildfire when they twisted my words to say that the reporter was from the Wall Street Journal (which I never said). The ones I've seen are pointing to my blog. The next thing I know, there are reports all over the web about a Wall Street Journal reporter who thinks blogs are insignificant (Here's <a href='http://www.blogherald.com/2005/01/16/blogs-unimportant-says-wall-street-journal/'>one </a> of about 10 examples I've seen so far). So, this is about getting the conversation started to do exactly what you and I have just done -- to dig a level deeper into 'open sourcing', look at where the raw materials exist, figure out a way to load them into a transparency channel, and then to understand what where things can go wrong.

      Thanks for keeping the conversation alive.


        Ys DB

        I see your point now.
        I have similar problems. Documentation of what happens is fundamental to keep 'the truth' alive. Factual knowledge can defeat ignorance. My words get 'twisted ' regularly, to mean exactly the opposite of what I say. There are groups of people 'out there' who benefit from creating confusion and disagreement. Darkness only exists in the absence of light.
        It s a tough world, but luckily communications technology can be on our side.
        And the press is known for miquoting sources, and sadly, many misquotes are not rectified.
        We are lucky that one way or another we can 'talk back
        Thanks to you writing 'blogs' and 'transparency' in the same sentence


        Paola Di Maio (Ms!)