CBS News Launches 'Public Eye' Blog

September 12th, 2005 1:06 PM

After seeing that it had no presence in the blog world, CBS News has finally launched its own blog.

They claim that the fundamental mission of "Public Eye" is "to bring transparency to the editorial operations of CBS News." This is commendable, but it is likely the blog will devolve into a way for CBS to finally respond to charges made against it in the blogosphere.

From the about page:

"Breaking out of the traditional 'ombudsman' role, Public Eye will also try to explain and describe how news is reported and produced at CBS -- a mystery to most viewers. We hope this will be both entertaining and edifying."

"Public Eye is not primarily a forum for the personal opinions of the folks who write Public Eye — so perhaps it is not a classic blog in that sense. Like all human beings, the Eyeballers have opinions and will express them from time to time."

"The most common technique of Public Eye will be a simple one: to gather questions, complaints and arguments about CBS News coverage and take those to the producers, correspondents and executives involved. We hope the journalists at CBS News will be open, accessible, honest and enthusiastic; we expect this will be the case most of the time, but occasionally there will be legal, business, ethical or personal reasons why that won’t be possible. But Public Eye will always set its own agenda, regardless of access, and will treat CBS News personnel as it would treat any news sources or news makers. At its best, Public Eye will moderate an articulate and civil dialogue between the people of CBS News and the public — be it viewers, bloggers, professional press critics, scholars or the subjects of stories on CBS.

"What we are trying at Public Eye is similar to what many American newspapers do with columnists or editors they call ombudsmen, public advocates, readers’ advocates or public editors. But Public Eye will do some things differently and, we hope, innovatively.

"First, Public Eye, led by its editor, Vaughn Ververs, will not be The Judge of Virtue at CBS News and will not issue Edicts and Pronouncements about what is acceptable or praiseworthy journalism and what is not. While Public Eye will necessarily have to express judgments and subjective valuations, judging — personal editorializing — is not the goal; dialogue and explanation are. Second, Public Eye will be published most every day and updated throughout the day; that’s why it is a Web log and not a column. Third, as we said earlier, Public Eye will not just scrutinize CBS News, it will try to lift the curtain and show how the news is made — through video stories, regular news stories and even by taking our community into CBS News meetings, control rooms and edit booths."