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Introducing the Transparent Newsroom

Posted by: | November 15, 2010 | No Comment |

The first thing that might come into mind when thinking about a newsroom is probably not transparency.  Given the competitive nature of the news, many news entities probably would not want others to know what stories they have in progress until they are reported.

Steven Smith outlined an innovative way for news organizations to become transparent on the Nieman Foundation’s Nieman Reports blog.

Some of Smith’s recommendations for newsrooms becoming transparent, and accountable to the public, include:

  • Make news meetings open to the public. Although opening a news meeting up to the entire viewing/reading audience of the news entity could be counter-productive, Smith suggests allowing a few members of the public, or field trip/scout groups in.
  • Hire an ombudsman to oversee operations of the newsroom.  Smith says that ombudsmen independently oversee functions of a newsroom, and they could serve as an effective mediator between unhappy readers/viewers and the newsroom.
  • Allow newsroom editors to go into the public occasionally and ask everyday people about what is important to them.  Although Smith says that the findings would not necessarily be published, it could serve as a great way to understand what the newsroom’s customers feel is important.

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