In March, the New York Times–that beacon of print media–introduced the “TimesCast” video feature on its website. The paper has long featured other forms of media (podcasts, ect) on its site, but this particular innovation raises the stakes a bit.
Why? Because “TimesCast” airs footage from editorial meetings, where the pros brainstorm, dispute scoops, and debate the worth of news pieces. In essence, people stop being polite … and started getting REAL.
This ‘insider’s look’ certainly agrees with modern media’s ethos, but not the traditional newsprint method. As TrueSlant’s Jerry Lanson notes:
News was a messy, fast-paced business even before Twitter, 24-7 cable and the blogosphere made it instantaneous. The print media, through their web sites, have learned that once again they can compete for breaking news against everyone else. That’s good, though it, too, detracts to some extent from the contextual wisdom the best print stories bring to the news marketplace.
How do you navigate the ethical fine-line here? Transparency and reader-dialogue are admirable values, but ought the Times and other non-digitally grounded publications cater to this new demand? In effect, are digitial medias forcing their tenets (expediency, interactivity) down the throats of older business models? Imperialistic, n’est-ce pas?
Or should we abandon these old values, which may be getting more sentimental nostalgia than they deserve (especially for an, ahem, business)?
Me? Count me in the “keep the readers out of the newsroom” camp. The Times‘s product–and at a broader level, U.S. democracy–suffers when stories get rushed or bastardized by trigger-happy reporters, half-baked theories, and (sorry) the filthy masses.