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Consulting the Viewer with TV News

Dave Winer’s view of how MSNBC should lookDave Winer has created a smart mockup of what he calls MSNBC-of-the-Future. The viewers can use checkboxes to say what they’re interested in seeing covered, and what they’re not interested in seeing covered. (Update: Dave gets lots of responses.)

Audience feedback is a fine idea. Until then I use a different kind of checkbox: the change-channel button.

Incidentally, the too-often putrid nature of American cable-TV news is never more obvious than when I’m traveling outside the U.S.

I’m in Madrid to give a talk later today, and the English-language cable news choices here are BBC, CNN International and CNBC Europe. BBC, of course, is the gold standard — head and shoulders above the others. But CNN International is vastly superior to its American counterpart, offering serious news programming and much less tabloid stupidity. CNBC Europe isn’t a lot better than the boosterish programming at home from the channel, but even this channel, because of its globalized view, is better.

It would be an intriguing test if U.S. cable and satellite companies put these versions of BBC and CNN on their systems. I predict they’d be huge successes. I’m absolutely convinced that there are many, many more Americans who care about quality news programming than the cable-news executives seem to think.

1 Comment on “Consulting the Viewer with TV News”

  1. #1 Scripting News for 4/25/2007 « Scripting News Annex
    on Apr 25th, 2007 at 9:04 am

    [...] Dan Gillmor says he votes by changing the channel, but that doesn’t work when all the networks are covering the same idiotic press conference, where the DNA results of the paternity test for Anna Nicole’s baby are being announced, or on the first day back at Virginia Tech when they’re holding yet another prayer vigil with orange and maroon balloons. I think it would be nice if they had such ceremonies without the network cameras there, and of course I turn off the TV when they all do that, but see the previous item about Iraq, there is actually news going on when they go into 24-hour hand-wringing mode, and TV is a good way to get news, if only you could get some. [...]