Alisa Miller

President & CEO, Public Radio International (PRI)


This conversation is closed.

What is the importance of building transparency in news media, and what would like to see? Any risks?

This LIVE CONVERSATION will be from 2-3:30PM CT/3:00:-4:30PM ET, Friday, October 28th! Join me!
UPDATE: Alisa has requested the Conversation be left open for 1 week. She will check back in over the week to continue the discussion with the community. Thank you all for your participation!

As people have chatted with me about my TED ebook, Media Makeover: Improving The News One Click At a Time, many people of expressed their interest in having more transparency in the news. People are concerned about who is influencing the news (powerful people and organizations), are concerned that the news is just one big echo chamber and they are trusting media overall, less and less. What would you like to see in a more transparent media? What would you know more about that you don't know now?

Potential answers to this question are just about anything. Some people would like to know more about the background of the reporters telling the stories. Others have mentioned the desire to see more about those quoted in the stories.

Transparency is about understanding where something starts, what are the connections to it, who is influencing it, and how it is evolving. Lets come up with the wishes we would like to have fulfilled so we can know more about what underlies our news we consume each day!

  • Oct 28 2011: I'm not sure transparency will help if news is ingested by a readership that is uneducated in the history and underpinnings of any given news story in general. Saturating people with information in the name of transparency makes no difference if they aren't sufficiently motivated to seek out a critical understanding of international affairs. I sometimes wish that news articles contained better narrative resources and analysis that actually made reference to the historical framework and context of the article. Otherwise, the news comes off as: "This totally crazy thing just happened", each time a new story breaks and our attention breaks with it. The news can't be a feeding frenzy on behalf of our shallow hunger for stimulating spectacles. This is a recipe for schizophrenia, not educating people.
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      Oct 28 2011: Context is critical. There needs to be more of it. I wonder if there are tools that could help.
      • Oct 28 2011: Maybe the agencies could use something like the Facebook timeline. I do not think that is the 'answer', but if I could see the raw footage and know the context behind why it is there in the first place - that would go a long way towards helping me lend credibility to the story.
  • Oct 28 2011: It doesn't matter in the traditional sense. This problem is solving itself. This is a generation X question in a soon to be generation Z world. Information flows sideways. "Mainstream media" is less significant than ever and that trend will continue naturally as the population with older generation mindset is replaced by new minds that practice information consumption and collaboration in a more global, social, and less vulnerable fashion.

    Media companies are being more transparent. Not because they want to be, but because they have to be. Those that lack transparency and thrive have latched on to the ever decreasing population of "traditional media thinkers". Time will ultimately solve that problem.

    There is no such thing as an unbiased opinion and there doesn't need to be. The freedom comes with *many* biased opinions (eg. information) and common sense.
    • Oct 28 2011: This is a really good point, but don't you think its a bit naive to argue that it will solve itself? Take Wikileaks for example: here you have unconstrained (or arbitrarily constrained) horizontal and forced transparency and it runs up against all kinds of non-trivial issues from rampant abuse and misinformation to legitimate national security threats...

      Now that isn't to say Wikileaks hasn't been useful, but let's not pretend there isn't a clear tension here between constructive transparency and the legitimate exercise of privacy. For these reasons, we can't ignore the standard bearers like the CNN's and the NPR's of the world: we need some threshold criteria and groups for vetting (and obtaining) information responsibly but we also have a right to transparency regarding the criteria on which that vetting takes place.
      • Oct 29 2011: Right, not solve itself magically, but rather there is now an ecosystem in which information can be more easily cross referenced and expressed which makes for a crowd sourced, group think, auto correct of sorts.

        Transparency can't be had, it can only be a judgement made by outsiders armed with information.

        Everyone does the vetting and everyone is vetted. Lack of credibility becomes blatantly obvious and the fear of top-down misinformation becomes less of a threat. Not necessarily because of anything a big organization did itself, but because the ecosystem does a better job at "keeping 'em honest" :)
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    Oct 28 2011: I think it's important for consumers to realize that the TV/Radio news (and their online counterparts) are not the lone suppliers of news media. The rise of citizen journalism and blogs is an important one for transparency. We should seek our news from a multitude of sources. Politicians and others who have a stake in getting their message out should also utilize other platforms if they want to look credible. TV/Radio is just one tool in the toolbox.
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    Oct 28 2011: Here is a list of some of the data I would like to see:

    #1 Information on those who are quoted in the article that might give me a better sense of what underlies their perspective (political affiliation, contributors-if applicable, where from, etc.)

    #2 A better sense across the news cycle, who as sources goes are dominating the debate by topic.

    #3 Information on the reporter in the story (same as #1)

    #4 Whether a story is original or is derivative of another story

    Those are a few thoughts...what would you add or subtract?
    • Oct 28 2011: Many of this information is unfortunately impossible to attribute during an active news broadcast, solely based on the speed with which information is released to the public. Any major news release will provide to a degree most of the information your looking for, or to a lesser extent an established news caster should have the skills and experience to know who is talking and relay the pertinent information to the listener. The onus I believe falls on newscaster who need to have a better understanding of where these news tweets are coming from and perhaps make a more informed decision when creating topics of discussion. Unfortunately, because of the publics need for news the second it occurs this tempered response makes it hard to be competitive.
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        Oct 28 2011: If it wasn't impossible to attribute, what more would you like to know?
        • Oct 28 2011: Working within news, I have found that given enough time I am able to find out everything you are looking for, the information is there it just depends on the quality of the newscaster to find it and relay that to the listener. Unfortunately, most of the details you desire are not the desires of the general public when it comes to news consumption.
    • Oct 28 2011: The style of reporting that has changed since BushJr's experiment with "Shock & Awe", "Hearts & Minds", used to reference People & Events in History, it used to give you somewhat extensive background on Issues, a greater appreciation for the Profession of Writing, & Reporting in General.
      No. 1 seems to be relevant in reporting/ News Business.

      As far as the issue of Transparency is concerned: Is there documentation on the White House administered/ suggested changes to News Reporting that omitted Siemen's & Goldman Sachs from Headlines? #RatingsAgencies_Advertisers_NewsCollusion
    • Oct 28 2011: Personally I would like to see the return of the Fairness Doctrine. But I am starting to think that legislation like that is impossible because of the money opposing it. Is it actually possible to pass legislation that may have a negative impact on large corporations?
    • Oct 28 2011: What about being clearer about conflicts of financial interest?
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    Oct 28 2011: I think "unbiasedness" in reporting news and "independence" from their funding sources is way more important than the transparency in any newspaper organization. And of course Transparency is welcome and helpful...
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      Oct 28 2011: Pradeep. Important points. I actually think transparency is critical to understanding independence. What if you knew, for example, who were the major advertisers in a publication. Of course you can SEE them, but what if we had more instant transparency there, in how much they were supporting X publication each year?

      Similarly if a story features a political figure alot, and that story seems to quote him or her a lot, what if we knew how influential that person was today across many news stories, what if we had instantly in front of us a quick listing of their largest political contributors?

      This would give us a better understanding to make our own judgement about unbiasedness. Or said differently whether we are be influenced and by whom and what is their orientation.
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        Oct 28 2011: Yes, I agree. thanks :)
      • Oct 28 2011: Exactly the point I was thinking. Thank yoU!

        This is the kind of stuff that makes it so frustrating to grasp.
        On the internet - if your an affiliate marketer - you write a story about a product.
        At the end of my story you must put that you may receive monetary compensation if
        the reader clicks the link and buys the product. These sort of laws do not exist for major
        corporations as there are no disclaimers or notices of their incentives. Yet for those of us
        who stand to make $4 a month on a lousy click are told we could lose everything if we do not
        abide. Why? That allows me to believe that our system is bought, paid for and controlled by
        those in power and will do anything to bring about hoop jumping for the non-elite.
        • Oct 28 2011: It's a good point.

          The travel or life section of newspapers is often exactly that: a paid advertisement.

          Don't get me wrong, I like those sections. People use those sections to shop around for deals, or learn something new. It's not bad.

          But when news stories are run about a new spa, and all the reporter did was talk to an employee of the spa, it's the same thing as an ad.
  • Oct 29 2011: News is really media entertainment. Sensationalism sells. We have thin veil over transparency. Truth is concealed, muted, diverted, skewed, or diced out of context. True journalism is a lost art that is rarely pursued. Whether it is lack of artistic skill, laziness or fear, almost no journalist drills down to reveal the truth; or pursues a cause with passion.

    No one wants to listen to true facts and come to a conclusion. People for the most part want to be told what and how to think.
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      Oct 29 2011: Mark, what are the aspects of transparency you would like to see?
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      Nov 1 2011: Hi Mark,

      When I was in college, I had a friend that had a very concise way of describing your point. He said that, "The media doesn't control what you think, but it does control what you think about." Less true today, as so much information is available on the internet about subjects the media would rather avoid.

      An area in which I would like to see greater transparency is the process of determining what is newsworthy and what is not.
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    Oct 28 2011: The News media is nothing more than a form of entertainment. If it is treated as such, then it can be kept in context and given the attention (or, rather, lack of) that it deserves.

    When it is seen for what it is, then it becomes obvious that it's no more important for the "news" to have transparency than it is for soap operas to have transparency.
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      Oct 28 2011: I agree. If we want to take our news seriously, than we should present it seriously. The graphics, the music, the overall flashiness... It's no wonder our attention spans have been reduced to seconds. We can't dive into deeper issues anymore because our brains are bombarded with CGI crossing the screen.
      When talking about serious subjects, we should be offered a more appropriate format. As it stands, the only programs that offer a way to dive into issues are highly partisan (for better or worse).
      Sensationalism, too, will never subside, but I think by exposing yourself to a diverse set of outlets, you come to recognize it more when it's presented.
      • Oct 28 2011: I think it's silly to bash news for being too flashy. It has to do what it has to do, but it can be intelligent and thoughtful at the same time.

        To say news should go back to being more serious, is like saying that you preferred the horse-and-carriage to the car. Maybe you liked the horses companionship, and found it a more intimate mode of transportation, but a horse-and-carriage is untenable on our roads and highways.

        News needs to find a middle ground in all this. It needs to be exciting and interesting, but it also has to be real and challenging.

        And the 'flashy' strategies aren't necessarily a bad thing. Tough questions from partisan right-wing media can evoke issues and questions that left-wing media wouldn't evoke. And vice-versa.

        As for Scott's comment that news is just entertainment, I'd fundamentally disagree. News has political implications - implications into people's every day lives. The current news system isn't the best example, but it certainly has its moments of impact: it can force a politician to quit, or expose a harmful drug to the public.

        Whenever someone is trying to pass something off as 'fact' - or even a point of view - then we need transparency.
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          Oct 28 2011: Mass media is a dinosaur and has had it's day. It will always struggle to keep up with social media. Better to let it rest in peace.

          As for the importance of news, I think it's nothing more than jumped up gossip. For all the political upheaval going on in the world that actually makes it to the screen in New Zealand, very little of that actually impacts on my life. (This statement will draw disbelief, I know).

          As far as forcing politicans to quit, that's not the role of news reporting. That has more to do with politics being transparent and social media will deal with these sorts of issues far more effectively.

          The trouble is, there is a movement by scared politicians to lock it down and make people and the providers legally responsible for their comments. They are trying to kill free speech.

          Your analogy of a horse and cart vs a car misses the mark, I think.

          A more accurate analogy would be to compare a healthy horse and well maintained cart vs a horse with ribbons and plaited mane and a branded cart with mags and rally art on the side.
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          Oct 31 2011: Well, a person can always watch the newshour on PBS if they want news that is less flashy and more thoughtful.

          The other thing I wanted to add is that my grandmother had her own TV show in the late 1950's, in Oklahoma City - the "Prissy Thomas Show." She told me once that pretty much everything on tv has one purpose and one purpose only, which is to deliver your attention to the advertiser. That is the whole reason that the news is flashy. It needs to get your attention so they can stick a commercial in front of you. Think about it - that is how they get paid. So they will do whatever they can to get you to pay attention to that commercial.
    • Oct 29 2011: Though I agree to a certain extent, I think you underestimate the power of mass media.

      Particularly, I think you overestimate people's desire to participate in social media. Social media is easy, and people like that. But mass media is easy too, and packages information much more neatly than social media.

      You can go on Twitter and Facebook and follow an interesting story, or you can have the story packaged and told to you by a documentary or by the news. I think social media is an important way people get news, but I don't know if mass media can be entirely usurped. Mass media is still easier than social media in many respects. It still has a place at the dinner table.

      On top of the fact that people might still be interested in mass media, the structures for regular publication of information don't exist in social media yet. People of all kinds depend on regular updates on stock markets, updates on sports, updates on municipal politicians etc.

      The resources for this don't exist in social media yet. Regularily updating sports information, or regularly updating information about a city-hall by-laws can't be effectively done by social media.

      Not to mention investigative reporting, which is a time-sink and an even worse money-sink.

      Do you really think random people will be able to coalesc into efficient, and free, media producers?

      A better analogy might be social media as a healthy horse, and mass media as train.
      Sure, the horse can take you anywhere, but sometimes you just want to get on, fall asleep, and wake up where you needed to go.
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        Oct 29 2011: You make some good points. Especially about the investigative journalism - going where the average tweeter probably won't.

        I think that we're still in the process of change and that eventually, all the things you mentioned that social networks don't yet cater for will become accessible via networking.

        The huge advantage that social networks have over pre-packaged and delivered newzine programmes is that there is scope for dialogue. Of course, the flip side is wading through much more opinion and mis-information.

        I find that much current practice in mass media is fake, cheesy and over hyped. This is a massive turn-off and I find myself distracted from the content by the delivery.

        Mind you, it comes back to what you touched on before - the purpose we watch news. I have no interest in stock-markets, sports or politics, so I guess the problem lies with me.
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      Oct 29 2011: Its important to know that even if you feel this way, that this is where a majority of people go to be informed. So with that said, what forms of transparency would you like to see?
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        Oct 29 2011: I take your point. My grandparents held the evening news in high regard. As did my parents. I can't.

        Transparency is a cool sounding word but I don't think the networks can be fixed. It's a dying form of infotainment.

        But for the sake of this discussion, I would like to see far fewer subjective judgements made by presenters and journalists in the field. Their opinions should not be heard ever. Perhaps removing the people from news delivery (TV) will help this.

        All sources should be clearly cited as should the reasons for why those particular news articles made it to screen and print.

        In the case of TV news, all interviews should be conducted in the same space by the same journalist asking the same questions. All people being interviewed should be present as each gets interviewed.

        There are far too many subtle ways that the "news" can be influenced by the presentation of the content.

        These may help others but I really don't consume news other than stumbling across 'recent events' online. Much of that is entertainment or gossip, too.
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          Oct 30 2011: With "fewer subjective judgements" and "removing people from the news delivery" you have no signature media anymore, you have news machines... why not robots ? Subjectivity is gueared by analysis, subjectivity is steping back and address a comment, a particular reading, obviously subjective. This is precisely the reason why you read such or such paper or listen to Foxnews or hate it. The sujectivity of the author meets yours and make you react, agree or disagree...
        • Oct 30 2011: Interesting ideas, it'd be interesting to see how applicable they might be in day-to-day journalism.

          As for the question of journalist opinions, this is something over which I'm torn.

          Personally I find the attempt to divorce opinion from journalists as worrisome. Not that it's not possible, but the air of objectivity has to be deserved. And a lot of journalists don't deserve that air.

          It can be placed on a piece with some creative editing, like you pointed out. Only, how do you find out if someone has tainted their piece or not?

          Personally I like opinionated journalists. Journalists use their instincts to understand stories, find issues and to present those issues. It's hard to separate opinion from the story, especially if it's something new, and without a lot of debate surrounding it. Maybe all journalists should be clearly opinionated; at least that way we'll know where this story is coming from.

          That, to a certain extent, is transparency. News would also be more interesting.
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        Oct 29 2011: Oh, and remove all advertising. No ads for evening news, no advertising during the news or in print. Remove the motivation to make money over delivering relevant, factual information.
        • Oct 30 2011: I agree with removing ads. But the problem then becomes a battle between content and and financing. You can only produce a certain quality content with a certain amount of money.

          I read a book, Death and Life of American Journalism by Nichols and McChesney, and they suggested that the government should pay up to 45,000 dollars of a journalist's salary. I'd agree with them, but only because there's no other way of financing this difficult business and still producing quality content.
        • Oct 31 2011: I have to strongly disagree with the public financing of journalists. Major media outlets, I believe, are already under enough pressure from public figures to not be too critical of them,or at least not to be too critical of the system as a whole. After all, the networks need the politicians to come on their shows so that they can increase their ratings. Public funding would only serve to further muddy that water, not make it more transparent.
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          Nov 1 2011: You have a great point that if journalists are publicly financed, they may be less inclined to write critical stories of the politicians that are paying them. But that brings us to another very important point about how things are done right now. And that is, "To what extent is the content of the news influenced by the deep pockets of the companies/industries that are the major advertisers?" For example, if a network is getting a significant portion of its funding from say, ads run by drug companies, would it then be less inclined to write a balanced story on an alleged link between vaccinations and autism, as an example? To what extent would they just ignore this, rather than upset the people who provide a significant portion of their income?

          This is the area that I would like to see more transparency. To what extent is the content of the news influenced by the money spent by large advertisers? I am not sure how you would accomplish this.
        • Nov 1 2011: Oh, I couldn't agree more. And I think it goes even deeper than just advertisers. GE, a defense contractor, OWNS 49% of NBC. How can they be expected to objectively cover the subject of war? Financial companies are another issue. The networks spend half their day talking about their performance, and a quarter of their day advertising for them. How can they possibly be expected to ferret out their shadier dealings, or to share them with the public even if they did. How much of the current financial crisis could have been mitigated if news outlets were truly free to sick their investigative dogs on banks? We could make a similar case with insurance companies and how media can be used to affect public opinion about health care policy.

          The problem is that mass media has a vested interest in protecting the interests of all the entities that we depend on them to police, so to speak. The only people they do police, it appears to me, are entertainers, and those folks thrive on having their dysfunctional antics plastered all over the place.

          I would love to see more transparency as well, and if Santa is listening, I would also like a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas.:)
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        Oct 30 2011: @Bernard. Robots are a great idea but probably involve prohibitive costs. Mind you, the news folk would still find a way to colour the delivery.

        Thanks for underscoring my point about news being nothing more than entertainment.
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        Nov 1 2011: I don't think money should be involved at all (if you truly desire altruistic news).

        Arguments about financing vs content are moot. If you want decent content, remove the money.

        If no money = no news, then no problem. What do you need to know that you don't find out through the circles you move in anyway?

        How does it affect me to know why petrol costs so much? (oil shortages, etc). All I know is it's expensive and there's nothing I can do about it except choose to walk.
  • Oct 28 2011: Is wiki leaks a good thing or a bad thing? Are the transparent and that is what all are upset about?
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      Oct 28 2011: This discussion is less about wikileaks, i.e., releasing raw information from a source. That would be a good TED conversation for another point.

      This conversation is focused on discussing journalism and news sources and what information they should be providing, or what tools they could be providing to help the public understand what could be influencing the story in the first place.
  • Oct 28 2011: The corporate imperative of catering to shareholders -- whatever the corporation's political leaning -- threatens the quality and quantity of journalism. Before the internet, Google, Craigslist etc. combined to destroy the business model of the newspaper, newsrooms were already being hit with cutbacks as ownership sought to satisfy Wall Street's excessive profit-margin demands. As margins dwindled, the largely benign corporate/Wall Street influence of the past grew ever stronger and more pernicious. Not sure if this fits the transparency discussion, but I think this is what would transparency would reveal.
  • Oct 28 2011: The problem right now is that news media content is determined by ratings, and advertising revenue, and political leaning whether an item of news gets covered-or not. I have used the BBC what was known as the World Services as the benchmark for news reporting. No opinion, just factual reporting of the news. They don't have ratings to worry about, they can be subject to government suppression of sensitive info, but otherwise good solid reporting.
    Thankfully we have BBC America, I don't hold out much hope for the other networks. One would have hoped that a publicly funded network would be neutral, but PBS has failed miserably in this regard. I don't believe you can mandate transparency. With our government trying to pass a bill so that they can lie about the existence of a document, we are hardly moving in a direction of more transparency. Also we have recently seen our government block news media attendance (San Francisco), called Ford Motor company to kill their advert, so I don't see it happening.
    • Oct 28 2011: Transparency in Communications/ Access to News & in response to News Agencies is Essential in providing for the END of the Ability & the Environment that is 100.00% Manufactured in order for 1 or a few people to have the ability to do what you've mentioned. #NarcoticsTerrorism #NarcoticsIndustryBubble_RealEstate-BankBubble

      The Community, Families & Individuals need to have the ability to defend themselves against Bad Businesses & bad Politicians. Transparency in many ways is the logical cost effective way for Businesses & Politicians to provide for their Legal Defense. The Russian Government has made it their Intelligence Ministry's Policy to make Public all Policy Documents to avoid confusion while there is spin around the "Muslim" & Chaos Scare/ Hoax. #007Hoax
    • Oct 28 2011: Failed miserably? Public broadcasting is much more reliable than most other news sources.
      • Oct 28 2011: Yes I'd say they have failed miserably. Yes probably not as bad as some of the other news sources, MSNBC, CNN come to mind, but then compared with some European news sources they don't compare.
        Try listening to BBC News or BBC America who are carried on our local P BS station.
        • Oct 28 2011: I do listen to the BBC and I consider them to be a great source because they are not tied directly to the stories they are reporting on. But I don't think that the BBC is incomparably better. Public broadcasting has discussions that are way more in depth than most other news organizations and they are much less dedicated to the "sound bite media" that most other stations have been reduced to.
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    Oct 28 2011: In addition to edited cintent and processed information, news media
    Should make the raw data and footage available to those interested on some platform.
  • Oct 28 2011: Do you think that people's apathy about the news in the US is related to the fact that they feel so much of the news is a farce?
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      Oct 28 2011: Trust of so many institutions is at an all time low. I think that apathy or just feeling overwhelmed as to do with the fact that people are trying to process so much and are trying to figure out filters that can help them do that, but then wonder whether their filters are giving them the desired effect: know what is really going on and trusting it. Unfortunately, some of our filters, like going to opinion media we agree with, or turning to our friends, etc., can actually exascerbate the silos.
  • A non

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    Oct 28 2011: Do you think there should be much harder penalties for news stations that incorrectly report stories, or do not fact check their sources before publication/broadcasting?
    Are there any real short or long term incentives for news networks to put accuracy before meeting the demand for instant up to the minute news?
    • Oct 28 2011: I don''t think penalties are the answer. I think the people should DEMAND more transparency from their news sources.
  • Oct 28 2011: Personally, I would like viewers to have easier access to the owners of news outlets, particularly their history, other products they own and any political affiliations they may have. This would include the owners and any head decision-makers in the organisation. If there is a clear narrative or bias in any news programming then people should have easy access to the information on the people who have made that decision so that they can better inform themselves with how far their influence reaches.
  • Oct 28 2011: In today's information-engaged world, we should be able to idealize the media as transparency embodied. Unfortunately, corporate control, biased reporting, and a constant news cycle have drowned out the essential information we need to make informed decisions in our society.
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      Oct 28 2011: What essential information do you want to know?
      • Oct 28 2011: The devil's in the details. We hear so much rhetoric and story-telling, but what proportion of people really understand how decisions they make affect their lives? There is a growing schism between content and information, and consumers, craving information, are fed content and expected to be grateful. I think the media should be responsible for bridging the gap between what politicians and media conglomerates disseminate as fact and their responsibility to journalistic integrity, but therein lies the conflict: media's diverging priorities. The lion's share of their business relies on maintaining the apathy of the many, so a media conglomerate can be more successful (defined as profitable) by producing distractions than anything else. Coliseum-itis?
    • Oct 28 2011: Do reporters/ journalists know they're insulting our intelligence?
      Why is the idea of an Western European-Centric "Country Club Political Group" endorsed in an Constitutional Democracy where in the 21st Century, Asia is the greatest contributor to the $7 Trillion Travel Industry & Internet Industry?
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    Oct 28 2011: Hi everyone! Lets chat and talk about transparency!
    • Oct 28 2011: Thank you for the invitation to participate. It is nice to meet you and I look forward to the knowledge we gain and the ways in which we may discover to help many people. Here are a few questions: What is the mindset of the small (news/media) controlling group? It appears although they all act competitive, yet some stories that are VERY active seem to be cut short and not followed up on in a way that prevents media fragmentation. News stations used to run news cycles all night long. 24 hours of News. Now there are Infomercials and Nightly shows that focus on other issues that are not very important or serve as a diversion from the truth. I state a 'diversion of truth' because the very first time a Live story breaks - appears to always become different and have a new spin, when shown at a later time(in edited format).
      With the introduction of LiveStream and Youtube, the power of raw media is being given to a massive amount of people who are showing more credibility than the flashy, polished media outlets. I feel that any retention of citizen empowered media sources is the direct effort of the media corporations. They are currently pushing legislation due to the threat of a loss of control (wishing to shutter social media internet and streaming video sites). They have become accustomed with controlling what we see and learn about and are just now starting to understand that people will find ways to share, regardless of their power. To speak of transparency, where do we start in order to let the small group know we want the truth and wish to support the traditional channels, but admittedly have been feeling that there is a disconnect between what we are seeing live on the ground and what is shown after editing. This issue goes back decades, is there truly a way to change the culture within the organizations from the outside?
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        Oct 28 2011: So to summarize (you tell me if I have this right), you are saying that part of the issue is that the substantive stuff seems to not literally be there. You do not agree with some of the mass editorial agendas, for example on cable news at night.
        • Oct 28 2011: That is correct. Substantial information seems to reduce to small film clips with more time spent with the reporter commenting and giving opinions, instead of our ability to see enough material to make our own opinions and judgements. As one story's truth becomes twisted into different spins based on some bias within the reporting agency agenda or political view. Since news networks make a lot of their money from the commercials that run on the network - the advertising marketing professional see different channels as republican and democratic. This may be due to the biased reporting methods or policies that have developed within the corporations over the last few decades. Although that is understandable behavior based on the CEO's vision and how money plays a part in all industries - this has eroded the integrity of the entire model of Television as we knew it.
      • Oct 28 2011: The News Agencies don't have a reason to want to control people who don't receive their info from "exclusive" sources. There seems to be an effort being made to control Populations by Socio Economic Levels. #SpecialOpsFRAUD #BlackOpsFRAUD
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    Nov 4 2011: We are all trying to form our understanding of the world and our place in it. We do this from the information we have access to. Without accurate, trustworthy information, we are all wobbling in insecure and inaccurate approximations. If we could gain better, more transparent, more verifiable, more reliable information- a good portion of the world's problems would disappear- not all of course- but that portion that makes things worse by guessing at the problem and guessing at the solutions. Getting a solid handle on even a few things makes life more predicable, more actionable.

    I think we have the technology to make more people understand more about our world but we do not have real access to it. If we have access to it we have no way of verifying it. I believe that we need a TED playhouse to share video witnesses of actual events and documentaries around the world so we can begin to act because we can believe what we are seeing.

    TRANSPARENCY is key. Reliable source is key.
  • Nov 1 2011: That's my point exactly. Editorially we are censoring honest news, in some cases its because of what one person belives is good for the readers. This can be swayed by political leaning or advertising pressure. This is why main media is perhaps not the place to obtain honest reporting of the news. No matter what tools are available, honesty and integrity are not sustainable via this media.
  • Nov 1 2011: To say news should go back to being more serious, is like saying that you preferred the horse-and-carriage to the car. Maybe you liked the horses companionship, and found it a more intimate mode of transportation, but a horse-and-carriage is untenable on our roads and highways.

    Good !! thaks for all of you!!
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    Oct 31 2011: I agree with the comments regarding public broadcasting, the ABC in Australia is also a good source of news.
    Regarding transparency, it would be immensely useful to understand who are the largest shareholders in the top 5 'most watched' and 'most read' news outlets. I'm not American and I've only lived in the States for a short time many years ago, but I believe it's well known that FOX is owned by News Corp and there are political influences at play there that impact the content shown on that channel. The same could be said in the UK and the recent debacle concerning 'News Of The World'. At least if 'we' ie the consumer, have visibility as to who owns these outlets, we know then that there are vested interests. Of course it doesn't stop people watching and hearing what they want to!
    • Nov 1 2011: How do you think that should be presented? Should sponsors be listed at the end of a news program, like the list of side-effects at the end of a pharmaceutical commercial?
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        Nov 1 2011: I actually think that's not a bad idea Tomek. Providing credits at the end, or beginning, of the relevant news program/publication would provide the information for those who are interested. I ultimately think that this kind of transparency needs to be combined with sensible regulation of the industry that prevents any source from having too much control over content. Referring to the point Alisa makes below about displaying this kind of information on EVERY article, I think that goes way beyond what most people would want to see. This would clutter the space entirely and become confusing for most recipients.
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    Oct 31 2011: Alisa,

    A TEDConversation that asks the Q Which Facts are Factual might hold some answers to your Q here.

    It served for me as a way of trying to understand where transparency gets muddied. And working backwards from there to try to isolate where transparency is more clearly implied.

  • Oct 30 2011: Can media ever be too transparent? If we want 'objective' journalism, shouldn't every aspect of news be completely open to scrutiny, including sources, editorial direction and the editing process?
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    Oct 30 2011: Any body ever done any survey on the image of Media Industry ? Need to be done it, but will even it is done , who will publish it ?
    Defintely the Media industry , so people will never know the outcome.

    Sorry to say , that's what my perception is about media. Journalism not there anymore (when was last not sure). Media was and still is propaganda machine of power centers, recent past converted in to Money Machine for the investors as industry of PR evolved.
    In my country once law enforcing agencies were considered most corrupt , now it's media as they blackmail every now and then the law enforcing agency, if they don't give money to media , result will be negative media and defintely law enforcement agency have lot negatives, so they bow down infron of media. Unfortunately vast majority still believe what comes in printed.

    No idea whether Media Industry really care to change to build an acceptable image
    Wish individual citizens using social media will be the more believable source in future........... unless Media really look for revolutionary change...
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    Oct 30 2011: I haven't read all the posts, so someone might have mentioned this already, but to me it's all about discernment. I trust my inner guidance in first of all deciding what I read/watch and second in deciding whether it resonates with me as true or not. It takes practice, as we're not used to trusting our own inner voice; quite the opposite, we've been programmed to distrust it.

    It's like taking care of your body by eating healthy food, exercising and what not, the same goes for your mind: be aware of what you feed it! Mass Media food might not be healthy for you ;-)

    If you are able to use your discernment it doesn't matter anymore whether the news media are transparent or not; people will feel what's real and what's fabricated.

    Anyway, just my two cents...
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    Oct 29 2011: So glad to see you back here at TED Conversations, Alisa.

    Your fight, your leadership for a healthy viable 4th estate is one we all have to be engaged in and working towards. We cannot have a "new democracy" or any democracy without a healthy viable 4th estate.

    You are an insider. You know more about the news, how it works, how ownership and advertising may have changed what it means to be a journalist .My question to you is do you think the quality and accuracy of reporting in once honored, honorable and venerable journals would be at all changed if we knew what is controling news?Is it literally impossible for a reporter paid full time by one of these once venerable journals to write the truth? to write balanced coverage of important national and global events.?

    Is that simply not allowed because there is so much inside control or is it that our world has gotten so complex that journalists writing about emerging events just don't have the depth and background in what they are writing about to know what the truth know who reliable sources are?.I see so much opinion , bias and misniformation in main stream reporting..print and media..I don't understand where that comes from. Has journalism just been dumbed down by us the 99%, is it our preference that determines what we see? Is it our own demands our own consumption habits that are shaping the quality of news..its depth, its accuracy?

    Or is it straight out intentional manipulation from inside? I was absolutely astonished to hear on MSNBC seconds after the announcement of Qadhaffi's death, a sort of rushed together news bulletin that this would now make it possible to restore oil production and that in a few months production would reach former levels and reduce the price of oil. ( which is not true.even if Libya gets back to pre Nato intervention levels( the pathway to that goal is far from clear) it won't reduce the price of oil.). Was that a hurried twitter to the bureau chief from Clinton?
  • Oct 29 2011: I think it's more the editors opinion than the journalist. Journalists tell me the stuff they write, and the stuff that gets printed is often spun.

    Ok so if you want to be a program that just represents one side, then you can do that, call your self News from the extreme (left, right) perspective or what ever you want to cater too. Then stay true to your readership. So the question what is the audience you are going after? Is it the general American audience? or are you segmenting? You have to decide. Where I think NPR ran a foul is they were happy to take the general American audience (tax payers) funding, but then use it to give a politically biased (one sided) perspectives. If you want to cater to "your readership" define it and stick to it, don't try to say its one thing, then present another.

    Now I think if NPR had news from the left perspective, news from the right perspective, news from the independent perspective this would have worked. Remember when Juan Williams was fired, he was a journalist expressing his opinion. The fact that NPR management decided they disagreed with a journalists opinion, or said it was not representative of NPR and fired him, reflected negatively on the whole organization. It demonstrated that NPR was taking general public funding and only presenting a limited perspective. Today many people no longer give NPR credibility for honest opinion as a result of this event. Who would expect any NPR journalist to present an honest opinion if they feel threatened with unemployment. (Now to be fair, Juan got another job quite quickly, but probably most journalists might not be so lucky)

    What you are left with, is a perspective that NPR provides biased perspectives, and will have to make significant efforts to change this perspective, or become privatized and continue with a single perspective.

    So bottom line, define your readership, announce it, and stick with it. Give qualified opinion.
  • Oct 29 2011: Hi Tomek, I see that there is a reporting of the news, as it originates, without added color, without political spin, as it comes. For most people these days, there is a need for "just the news", short sharp and sweet. aka BBC World Service. (Most of us don't have time for some biased non-qualified interpretation)

    Then there is a need for explanation, qualification, how does this impact people. Again this should be non-political, explain for example why folks should be concerned with the Canary Islands volcanoes. By all means bring in the experts, probably the reporters are not the experts. When we are hearing about the raw news events, little is gained by hearing the opinion or political leaning of the reporter, or presenter.

    Then when it comes to an expanded view of the news, or an opinion news show, then take the subject into more detail, and add a personal perspective is good. PBS does a better job in this area than most with their in the street audio coverage usually dealing with individual experiences, a day-in-the-life type coverage.

    if you are going to deal with political events, then round table opinion seems to be the only way to go, where the audience can be represented by somebody of a similar leaning. I guess left center right representation. But you need to choose your round table people well, so that they do in fact represent the median positions.

    Same is true with many medical and more specifically drug news. We seem to just hear from the sponsors, through their distribution arm eg the doctors. They focus just on the benefits, don't talk about the risks. A nutritional expert can sometimes talk about the alternatives. This is where the problem lies, if you are controlled by advertising revenue, the pushers of the new drugs don't what you to talk about the bad stuff, that's why there always seems to be a doctor available at the 6:00 news spot. If you want to give opinion, disclose your position, and use qualified perspectives.
  • Oct 29 2011: A fully transparent media to me only occurs in ideal perfect situations. It reports truths and facts sufficiently and as fairly as possible, without colouring the readers' lens with the reporters' own subjective opinions and does not sway the readers' minds into thinking in a particular, or biased direction. There is no intention of witholding important information that might possibly change the way people think of issues and seeks to remove any sort of misunderstanding. It is certainly good to have transparent media because it appropriately and sufficiently provides enough background information to people to make a decision or a judgement. But it is unlikely to achieve a fully transparent media in reality because it is hard to report all facts surrounding the circumstances. More time is required to gather the necessary information and there are so many news happening everyday, do reporters have the time to chase after all these information? And is it practical to have a transparent media? Do readers really read all the information in the article? Most of the time, some might just only scan through the headlines and do not have the time to read through the details.
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    Oct 29 2011: Hi everyone, checking in on the conversation this AM. I can see that many of you are frustrated by the general state of the news. This bears out in all the research on how people perceive the news these days.

    As we keep chatting about the role of transparency in news media, consider this idea. In a perfect world, what information about a source, article, reporter, person quoted in a story, would you like to know about? What if that came with EVERY article. What would you want to see? What other categories of information would you want to know about?
  • Oct 28 2011: I lost me thread.
    I'm trying again.
    I think the problem is not tools, its that many reporters/journalists don't get their work published because the editor gets in the way and censors the work. So perhaps we are looking in the wrong place for news, perhaps it should be from twitter or private blogs, and there should be a mass media program that in an unbiased way covers the independent blogs.
  • Oct 28 2011: I don't believe this is a tools issue, I suspect this is an editorial issue. My guess is that many reporters don't get to see their work published because of the leanings of the editor which creates sensorship.

    The real question is, is honest news coverage too colored by editors that is should be release directly t
  • Oct 28 2011: I guess I was talking more about reporting the news, and not documentary type discussions which pbs does really well. When I want the news, and transparency, I don't really want somebodies personal opinion of the news, i think most people can form their own opinion if they are presented with the facts. i just want the naked facts, sans color, sans political commentary.

    The problem comes where PBS like many others don't even cover some news events because it conflicts with their opinion or political leaning. They in effect are using their bias to censor the news. I'd be much happier with BBC like factual reporting, followed by a separate discussion round table type thing with people from different areas of experience. One thing that drives me bonkers is when ever they is a medical news item, we always hear from a doctor, and never the opinion of a nutritionist. So I guess we are in agreement on some points.
    • Oct 28 2011: It's easy to say "I don't want personal opinions", but what is news? It's a journalist/editor deciding what is important to their readership.

      Simply choosing what is news and what isn't, is a political opinion. It doesn't even have to be conscious. If a reporter has someone in their family with a disability they are more likely to address disabled issues, because they understand the language and issues surrounding disability. You're getting that reporters point of view, their political opinion.

      I like your suggestions about a round-table. But that has time constraints. How do you find a doctor, a nutritionist, a dietician and a research assistant for the 6 oclock news? Or for every 6 oclock news?
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      Nov 1 2011: The whole alternative health care industry is largely ignored by the media. This is in spite of the fact that somewhere around 1/3 of all Americans use alternative health care in some form or another, and that the people who do so tend to be among the more highly educated.

      What it seems like to me is that there is some sort of dominant paradigm, and that things that are inconsistent with that dominant paradigm get reported about, and others do not. Alternative health care is not part of that dominant paradigm, so it doesn't get reported about. Have you ever seen a news story about alternative cancer treatments, for example?

      Another transparency question is what is the mechanism for determining what is included in this dominant paradigm that gets reported about in the news? Is it simply that a story that found some alternative cancer treatments to be even somewhat effective would really anger the drug companies, who provide a lot of advertising revenue?

      Alisa - would you have some insight on this that you would like to share? Thanks!
  • Oct 28 2011: Along with the factors mentioned above, I feel even the news readers contribute in hampering transparency. Their frequent quizzical gazes followed by their loud personal opinions while streaming the gradual progression of the trial is a pain to watch. What overwhelms me the most, is the unwarranted advocacy journalism, which clearly reflects from the news presenter’s report.
    In the Casey Anthony child murder case I saw the news presenter spitting fire at the accused, Casey, who was yet to be declared a convict by the court, the news presenter affectedly, imposed her verdict on the viewers. Before the viewers could perceive the news and draw a conclusion themselves, which is their right, they have been fed with a bias. Not only that; to substantiate her idea, the news presenter brought in co- presenters to pitch a chat on their take at the story.

    How overt can distortion get, than this? Passing off bloated news as objective reporting, the media infracts and modifies the potential of the news content. Who wants to know what a Fox News presenter thinks about a court order. Doesn’t his/her job end with the delivery of news without fear or favor? Or does it? Or sensational journalism has pervaded the television news room so deeply that they have started to believe that the common view of the world held by them is the only truth which prevails.
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    Oct 28 2011: Born the week of Chernobyl in Ukraine, I focus my work as an artist on the relationship of political systems to their citizens, especially at moments where the system may choose its own well being over that of the people. When the 1986 explosion occured, the media was not allowed to mention it! The lag in communication from the top to the citizens cost many their lives, and even more their health. That Glasnost (Transparency) was officially implemented soon after when journalists could transparently report on the government was arguably the hair that broke Gorbachov's back and led to the fall of a totalitarian system. In the midst of modern-day nuclear meltdowns, Wikileaks, and ongoing threats of budget cuts to public broadcasting, systematic loyalty to the system over the individual is not a thing of the Soviet past. The media ideally acts as an ergonomic bridge in communication between the two, and hopefully the future holds many, many media outlets from which to choose. (Pro-transparency art from a propaganda series commemorating the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl:
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    Oct 28 2011: I am so glad we are converting this to a conversation to take place over this week. Please feel free to come back and tell your friends to come too! I am signing off for a bit, but will be back to check in throughout the week! Thanks again. Alisa
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    Oct 28 2011: Thanks everyone! I look forward to continuing this conversation!!!
    • Oct 28 2011: Thank you Alisa for hosting an important conversation!
  • A non

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    Oct 28 2011: Do you think journalists being embedded during military conflicts adds to transparency or limits their reporting potential?
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    Oct 28 2011: Interesting comments everyone. 6 mins to the live discussion left!
  • Oct 28 2011: This topic has already begun to drift into unsubstantiated fears of corporate propaganda. Transparency is important but the underlying accusation seems to be that in some way newscaster are either intentionally or due to their ineptitude providing inaccurate information. This can and does happen, but to then take the paranoid step of inferring a socio-economic and political conspiracy that is designed to subvert the masses into a submissive ignorant state is insanity and frankly hurts the need for a dialogue between newsmakers and the public. Corporate and political interests have a much more difficult time doing these supposed devious things because of the speed with which information now is presented to the public, there is just no time for all the proposed benefactors to be considered when a story is happening.
    • Oct 28 2011: It's not about the information that they are spreading, as such, but more about the points that they constantly repeat on a daily basis. It doesn't matter what the story is, they can usually relate it back to their key points pretty easily. Plus, when you are focused mostly on opinionated commentary then it is completely disconnected from the news and they can spread whatever they want.
      • Oct 28 2011: Newscaster relay the information that is indicative of their audience. News organization die if they can't continue to appeal to that standard. If what your saying is true and unwanted, it wouldn't exist.
        • Oct 28 2011: It's not about appealing to a standard of information. The information is inconsequential. What’s important is what they do to keep people watching. That’s why the media is so focused on exciting and frightening stories. It gets people interested. And that’s the most important part, keep people watching.

          And what their viewers want is also unimportant. Demand can easily be created. And the fact that these organizations have all but perfected the use of subtle propaganda means that they can pretty much tell their audience what is important to them. Especially since they have gotten so many people to believe that they are the only trustworthy source of information. Once you achieve that kind of influence it doesn’t matter what you say, as long as it isn’t too nuts people have no choice to believe you because there is nobody to contradict you.
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      Oct 28 2011: I think the key here, is to push ourselves to get VERY concrete of what information we would like to see alongside articles, etc., that could help us cut through fear and be empowered to make our own judgments.
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    Oct 28 2011: More than transparency in news media, I would like to see respect for the military's use of classified data. What common people and media agencies feel is a 'right to know' is not that at all. The classified nature of military operations exist because of the fragility of the mission. Simply because the people are curious and the media agencies are a business with curious information to sell, does not merit placing mission success and worse, human life, at stake.

    Transparency of this nature should be anything but it.
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    Oct 28 2011: In addition to the edited and processed news and information content on news I think news media
    Should make their entire source data avalable on some
    Accessible platform. People who want to examine the raw data
    Should be able to do so.
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      Oct 28 2011: Interesting. The key i guess is how to get it in a sharable form.
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        Oct 28 2011: I think there is a slight clue in the wikileaks episode. We have activists across different fields who I am sure would be delighted to peruse through data and report out any inconsistencies or remarkable content. Since such activist groups are open to anyone for membership it is quite difficult to influence and corrupt them. It's the opensourcing of news. The web is the platform for something like this. A change in the regulations would go a long way.
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      Oct 28 2011: Anuj as appealing as that would be for us, news corporations are still a business. As altruistic as they might sell themselves as being, they are still after the almighty buck. Forcing you to use them as an intermediary to learn about a subject they brought to your intention is part of their business model.
  • Oct 28 2011: Alisa,
    It is interesting you talk about bringing more transparency to the current news dissemination...but I cannot proceed beyond the question of, why are we in a position today where we need to decide on 'how much' transparency is needed? Shouldnt we be tackling the core precinct that news media should always report the honest and complete truth? Transparency is only a symptom of a broken system and we need to treat the cause which maybe any or all of greed, lust for power, compromise in principle, lack of conviction and faith in the profession and a creeping instant gratification social media presence
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      Oct 28 2011: Malvika, I think the reason transparency is important is because news media is less trusted than it has been for decades. In my mind, with transparency, people could have a better sense of who they could trust moving forward, or at least be in a position as they read or consume a news story online to make a more informed judgement.

      Given this low level of trust, that is where we are now starting from so the way to work our way back is to rebuild that trust or give people the tools to feel more confident and then we can make our own judgments about who is giving us the honest truth (or at least trying).
      • Oct 28 2011: I see that we are moving ahead - but we will leave traditional (non trusted sources) in the dust. Trust is a really hard thing to rebuild, especially when we have no idea who the people are behind the message. I will trust someone from my home town with a phone cam, before I watch my local news station. I usually know more about the incident as well and wonder why the news agency did not report the entire story.
  • Oct 28 2011: I do believe that transparency in the media is tantamount to their effectiveness. You can’t really trust news sources if you don’t know where their information is coming from and what influences the information that they present. I would hope that people would be a lot more skeptical about the information they receive if they were constantly reminded that it being influenced by the massive corporation that owns it.

    However, I feel that transparency might not be as effective as it seems like it should be. People seem to be more and more willing to deny reality when it contradicts what they believe. So, even if you show people the truth behind the information they receive people will probably either disbelieve it or just ignore it.
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    Oct 28 2011: Great comments everyone!
  • Oct 28 2011: Because of the prolific nature of social media as a disseminater of information and news any concerns regarding transparency I think fall flat. Using tools like twitter and google news to provide that consolidation ensures that information that is inaccurate falls by the waste side, as too many different sources are contributing to a sort of truth my committee. The need for news agencies to find the news quickly and efficiently renders any arguments to corporate influences impossible, frankly BECAUSE of the 24 hour news cycle and social media, political or corporate influences cannot effect the news in any paramount way.
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      Oct 28 2011: How does social media today, help you see as a story is coming at you, what is influencing it?
      • Oct 28 2011: Social media allows for the easy and simple consolidation of multiple news sources on an issue creating within moments a breadth of accounts on the particular issue. This instant cross section creates an immediately visual way to understand any influences that would be counter to the truth of the event. Which allows the newscaster the ability to make a more informed decision on whether or not they believe this information is accurate.
      • Oct 28 2011: With Social Media it is much easier to see/ gauge the whys/ wherefores of Conversations & Decisions made.
        Watching Twitter on a Grid is a great way for Law Enforcement to find Criminal Plots & Underground Activity, especially around the KeyName Hollywood & Political/ TV News Reporters, the main targets for Bubbles/ Influence. Bubbles = Bad. There is 100.00% No Legal Justification & 100.00% No Economic Justification for Poverty.
        • Oct 28 2011: No, this isn't an answer or a contribution to anything being said. THANKS!
  • Oct 28 2011: Live Forums with Reporters & Journalists are helpful.

    I appreciate your time in trying to clarify the need for Transparency in the News Room.

    Democracy Work
    "Eradicating the At-Risk Profile Nationwide."
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    Oct 28 2011: Alisa, this is a bit of a 'meta' question: Do you believe the most effective solution is going to be more legislative or democratic? Is there a reliable way to mandate transparency, or might a movement to filter people's attention to more reliable/transparent news sources than mainstream media do more to take us in the right direction?
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      Oct 28 2011: I think the best mandate is if we see news orgs doing this or other entities providing the tools, for us to use them. The is nothing like seeing that the public cares to get orgs to start doing it. It can create a tipping effect, where reputable sources will do more and more of it to continue to be perceived of as credible. I believe in the carrot approach. :)
      • Oct 28 2011: Are News Agencies & News Professionals reactionary syncophants or do they try to provide a Community Service?
        The Quality of Reporting has gone down because of the "carrot" approach to Business Management & News Reporting where there is less value & more hype centered on maintaining Advertisers & "shock"-ability. (News Media Dictatorship explained: Narcotics Terrorist "Fear" Campaign exists because they're trying to claim that you're the "subject" of their 15th-17th Century Kingdom. 100.00% Documented.)
  • Oct 28 2011: I agree with Pradeep Raamana. This bias and loyalty to the funding sources is a huge problem. Media sources have more control of the Presidential primary elections than the people do. Fox News ignoring Ron Paul and CNN making snide remarks every time he is mentioned is a perfect example of this. The media does not want him to be elected so they will ignore him or make fun of him.
  • Oct 28 2011: Conglomeration. That's been the problem the last 10-12 years. You just don't see the type of in-depth reporting that we use to see in the 1990s, & about the only thing that is different relating to "in-depth" is that Rupert Murdock & his pals now own almost every media outlet.
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      Oct 28 2011: Conglomeration is a huge issue. 5 companies basically control much of the news output in this country. What are ways we could make this more transparent to people? Or what tools could we provide to help people see a broader picture of what is truly happening out there, at more of a mass scale? Ideas?
  • Oct 28 2011: Transparency manifests in Organizations in many ways:
    1) Ability for Issues to be addressed & News Reporters to answer questions about things they've written/ said,
    2) Ability to communicate to Reporters/ Talk Show Hosts on issues the Community At-Large would need to clarify, i.e., Decorum Needed in the Household & Legislature that would provide sense of respect for Elders, Protocol & Constitutional Democracies, vs. catering to Advertisers & things that are the "next best thing".
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      Oct 28 2011: So key to you for transparency is a feedback loop for the user to be able to come back and ask more
      • Oct 28 2011: This would be a great idea & helpful to News Agencies in maintaining loyalty & an Informed Public.
        Very easy to facilitate & very good for Kid Safe Communities.
        An Responsive Community Network is essential in preventing Crime & Solving Problems:
        The Narcotics Industry has tried to use News Agencies to control & extort support from Locations/ Regions. The Front Page News in denial of Economic Terrorism & Corporate Abuse is a form of Narcotic when they're sadists using for Entertainment. This has been the problem, augmented under BushJr. where Government Employees didn't feel empowered to solve problems.
  • Oct 28 2011: I would just like to say that I think that the emergence of 24 hour news organizations is one of the worst things that has happened to this country in my lifetime. I am watching Richard Wilkinson’s talk on how economic inequality harms societies and I think a lot of that can be attributed to the 24 hour news organizations convincing people to go against their own interests.
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      Oct 28 2011: Interesting Zachary, what is it about the 24 hour news cycle that makes people go against their interests? Not enough time to focus on topics in depth?
      • Oct 28 2011: The News Reporters & Talk Show Hosts show no regard for Community Psychological Stability.
        Whether or not the issues/ stories are reported in depth is irrelevant to value added reporting & Community need. #Headlines_9112001 #Headlines_Economy
      • Oct 28 2011: Well, the agendas of those that own the media corporations tend to be somewhat counter to the people that watch them because of the income differences. The people that own the companies have a ton of power; they have a lot of money and they have their own media outlets. And those outlets are almost exclusively used to push their agenda using very sophisticated propaganda. Using that they have convinced working class people that the institutions designed to protect them are bad.

        I think the irony of the 24 hour news organizations is that even though they are always there they do a horrible job of getting information out there. In order to be competitive they need to keep their audience enthralled. And people just aren’t interested in things that aren’t exciting or distressing. So, even though they are on 24/7 the amount of information they get out there is very minimal.

        Plus, they don’t really do much investigative journalism. The actual news that they report on is merely a repeat of press releases or a simple overview of the situation. So we aren’t getting the story behind the press releases. We simply have to trust that they are being honest with us.
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          Oct 28 2011: And that could explain that trust is at an all time low for the press. Only 22% of people think that the press gets the facts straight, and something like 18% believe they deal fairly with all sides.
        • Oct 28 2011: There should be an investigation on what has changed in News Reporting & why.
          (Ignoring the question of why Friedman needed an secretary at the NYTimes.)

          Dates on the TV spots that tell you when the report was first released disappeared because of an Psychological Campaign vs. Muslims that should be illegal.

          Locations headers on Print News have disappeared.

          Bubble: Uninformed population with no ability given to them to provide an Timeline of Conversation for themselves & for their Legal Records.
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      Oct 28 2011: On this same note, one trend we are seeing is not only is the 24 hour news cycle real, but with the advent of social media (which can have positive implications), we are also seeing that the average news story on Twitter, for example can max out at 24 hours. So even as a major story in broadcast can be around for a week, a few days for a blog, it is even FASTER in the social media world, which is growing in prominence.
      • Oct 28 2011: Yeah, the social media poses a new problem. People forget about important information really quickly. But that's because we are exposed to so much more. On the plus side, social media allows for less visible topics to become visible very quickly. And it allows for eyewitness accounts of situations almost immediately as they happen. Of course nobody will care about it the next day. But that will hopefully change as we get more used to the online life. =P
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          Oct 28 2011: True. Social media also doesn't leave a lot of room for stories that can grow like a slow burn. Social media stories can tend to be more MASS oriented. Although not always the case, it depends who you are following. The question is, is who you (asking rhetorically) are following on Twitter for example, people similar to you, etc., that in itself can be a silo, if you get my gist.
      • Oct 28 2011: This is a really ironic setting to have a conversation like this. We have an hour to discuss an extremely complex topic that involves too many people to be very effective. Kind of odd.