CBS News Pres. Thinks Hiring 'Nonbudsman' a Risk

August 30th, 2005 10:29 AM
The Hollywood Reporter says the president of CBS News, Andrew Heyward, thinks hiring an ombudsman is "a risk."

The ombudsman will be a "kind of media reporter, mostly focused on CBS News, reporting and writing about how the news is gathered, produced and placed." He will write a blog that is meant to go "behind the scenes"

Their new blogger is Vaughn Ververs, former editor of the "Hotline" political report. He does not answer to Heyward, but rather to someone outside the news division, CBS Digital Media head Larry Kramer.

Although Heyward thinks it's a risk, he's all for it.

"I'm banking on the fact that people will also see how much effort we make about being fair and being ethical."

According to the Reporter, the news president calls him a "nonbudsman" because he wants to make "clear that he's not looking for someone to just pat CBS News on the back."

They decided to create an ombudsman "after a controversial run-in with bloggers last year that helped sink '60 Minutes Wednesday.'"

Larry Kramer says the new blog will "help a news organization deal with controversy because it brings it out into the open."

But here's where we enter the spin zone.

Says Kramer, "If you believe as I do that we're an honest, hard-working news organization, all you need to do is have the ability to explain how you do what you do and they'll understand."

Will the job of the new blog be to remind people how "honest" and "hard-working" the news division is? Is the blog really going to be a way for CBS News to respond to blogger charges immediately, instead of having to wait for a TV reporter to interview them?