Why newsroom meetings should be made public

We all know there are various conspiracy theories that reckon “the media” has a — depending on who you talk to — liberal or conservative slant, a collective agenda to promote some unsavory cause, or just objectionable ethics in general.

In reality, most of journalists are just nice guys trying to perform a service to the global community. Its sad to say, but a great deal of the public often doesn’t recognize that.

In the spirit of openness and new media, why not open up news meetings to the public? This could be as simple as placing a digital tape recorder in the middle of the table and posting the (unedited) mp3 on the web or hooking up a webcam to capture the reporting and editing staff in all its glory. If the news meeting is conducted by telephone, which many are, use an inexpensive telephone recording device to capture the meeting. Kudos to The Spokesman-Review for webcasting its news meetings twice a day on weekdays.

An open news meeting gives the public insight into the newsgathering process which according to journalism tradition has been shrouded in mystery. Committing to a broadcast of news meetings means tucking in those shirts and cutting down on the swearing, but would contribute to a better public perception of the people who shape the news.

Broadcasting news meetings may not work for every media outlet and may create more trouble rather than lessen it but is nevertheless an idea to explore and emphasizes the spirit of new media.