A few days ago I was contacted by Canadian editor and journalist David Thomas with an idea. Why don’t all the major media companies collaborate in producing an independent daily briefing on the Coronavirus? I thought Dave’s idea had merit, so I drafted this short description of how it might work.
What: A daily briefing on where we are in fighting the Covid-19 virus.
When: Every day for the forseeable future, 4 to 5 pm ET.
Where: On the internet. Streaming video and audio always. Broadast whenever a particpating channel or station decides to pick it up. All guests appear remotely. All questions asked remotely.
Why: For the same reason there needs to be a daily briefing at the White House, but this one is independent from the White House. It provides a stream of factual and relevant information from experts who can speak with authority, and people on the front lines who are in a position to know.
Who: Originated by the “network pool,” a consortium of ABC, CBS, NBC, FNC and CNN that already collaborates on big occasions like the State of the Union, plus a few other events like this. Any other media company can join for free, submit questions live, and carry the video or audio, which are also available on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and as a podcast.
How: Features 4-5 guests a day who have advanced knowledge or a vital perspective: public health experts, epidemiologists, scientists, hospital officials, governors. Journalists who are part the AMDB can submit questions live. Anyone on the internet can submit questions in advance.
What are the minimum requirements to make this happen? A control room at one of the networks. A technical staff of 2-3 people. A unaligned moderator like Steve Scully of CSPAN, plus a back-up person for off days. An executive producer. An editorial staff of 3-4 people to vet and book guests.
What stands in the way? The hard part is to reach an agreement among the networks and people whose shows compete. The rest could be up and running in a couple days.
How do you know that? I asked people with network television backgrounds.
Is this supposed to replace the daily White House briefing? No. It is a parallel institution.
Is it supposed to compete with the White House briefing? All information competes with other information these days.
What’s your agenda? To build a daily audience for independent, evidence-based updates and to inject more quality, real time information into the news system during a public emergency of unprecedented scale.
Why would the big media companies collaborate on this? They’ve never managed to do that before. Well, they have never faced anything like this. And as I said, the five big commercial networks have collaborated before. A vehicle for doing so already exists. It’s called the network pool.
How do we convince them? We appeal to their public service mandate. We appeal to their instinct for cross-partisan truth. This is chance to show Americans that “the Media” can come together with one daily news update for everyone of every political stripe because these extraordinary times require it.
Why is Fox News included? Like CNN, Fox is part of the network pool.
Why is CNN a part of this? Like Fox, CNN is a part of the network pool.
Why is MSNBC included? Like Fox and CNN, NBC is part of the network pool, which is the most likely consortium to tackle something like this.
Who picks the questions? The executive producer and the staff he or she hires..
I will add to the FAQ as more questions arise.
Who chooses the guests?
The executive producer.
I think this is a great idea. I would definitely watch.
Make it omnichannel — live on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, then released as a podcast. [Sign me up](https://nutt.io) to help.
Agreed. AND add Vimeo to that list.
Good point. I had assumed that, but will add it to the proposal. Thanks.
This is a good idea. How can we get traction on it. Without a push, it will not happen.
It has to be talked about on social until people in the news media see it and start saying, “we could do something like that.”
My previous thread on Twitter about Trump’s narcissism has 3,200 retweets. This has about 150.
I remember the SOPA/PIPA protests of 2012 when online companies and websites “went dark” as a form of collaboration against pending Congressional laws. Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc. stood together in protest.
That’s what I thought about when reading your proposal of TV network collaboration and how to get people on board. Those social media firms, while larger in 2020, still exist and could likely be counted upon to support your proposal. For instance, imagine if everyone visiting Twitter the morning of the scheduled stream gets a chyron of sorts that tells them relevant details about tuning in.
I think it’s also important for citizenry to have a say in the questions asked. Maybe a Reddit-like voting system could be implemented so everyday people (like me) can vote on the questions asked. Then, the top x% of voted questions are asked that day. Something like that.
You don’t mention advertising. Should firms be granted permission to run 30-second ads? Perhaps — if the revenue goes 90% to a rotating slate of charitable organizations and 10% to the network pool to subsidize operations, something like that. Or, ads aren’t run at all. There has to be a corporate social responsibility tack to ads if they occur.
Great idea if it could be truly unbiased. Finding unbiased guests and moderator would be an issue. But as a person with no political affiliation, I am tired of jumping from channel to channel to get “all the sides” and feeling like all channels are biased and only report what they feel. Not what the facts are.
I’m going to look for, I think this is great news!
Sounds excellent count me with the majority who thinks this is needed.
This is real freedom, thanks for your honesty! I fully support!