David, what is a media transparency channel?
The easiest way to visualize what a transparency does is to think of
think of the various ways in which media organizations, journalists,
and bloggers reach their audiences. They do so through
channels. It could be a channel on TV, a Web site, a blog
with an RSS feed on it, or a print publication. All of these
broadcasting techniques are channels that content consumers (audience
members) use to tune in to content. But traditionally, in all
cases, the content that's coming through those channels has been
pre-digested for audience consumption.
When you see a 15 minute segment on 60 Minutes for example, the folks
at 60 Minutes have probably distilled hundreds of minutes of video into
that one short fifteen minute segment. The same thing goes for
what we read in the newspaper, see on the Web, or hear on the
radio. Unless it's a live report, a lot of the raw material that
was used to assemble the final piece of work falls on the cutting room
floor. So, when you think about it, for the most part, the
channels that we have access to today are reserved for finished
products -- content that was polished by editors and writers for
consumption by their audiences.
So, here are my questions? If we establish channels for the
purpose of broadcasting the polished content, why not establish
channels for broadcasting unpolished content? In other words, why not
give audience members a way to tune into the raw materials just as
easily as they can tune into the polished content? If media
organizations and journalists (including bloggers) did this, the result
would be a series raw material channels that are parallel to the
polished material channels. I call these raw material channels
"media transparency channels." Transparency is the practice
of unobscuring that which might otherwise be obscured for the
benefit of those who deserve to see what's happening behind the scenes.
To the extent that the raw materials that go into a journalist's
work are normally obscured from the audience's view, a media
transparency channel unobscures those raw materials.