Declare Your Curiosity

In class on Wednesday, we were joined by Stephanie Miller, Director of Digital Media for CBS Boston Television.  Ms. Miller works at both WBZ-TV & WBZ Radio.

Ms. Miller touched on a number of interesting points in speaking about a relatively new campaign WBZ-TV has created. While many locals may be well aware of this concept, I am not a TV or radio news consumer while in Boston, so the campaign was news to my ears.

The campaign, which began a year and a half ago, is titled “Declare Your Curiosity,” and asks viewers and listeners to go onto the show’s website and tell producers and news anchors exactly what they would like to hear. Viewers have the opportunity to share ideas, questions or issues they find interesting with the show. All of their answers are compiled in a database which Ms. Miller and other CBS executives have access to. There, they can contact contributers directly to pursue story lines.

In speaking about this idea, Ms. Miller focused on the idea that as journalists, we need to be developing a community and relationships within that community. Part of that relationship is understanding what the community wants.  While journalists are often expert story tellers, they don’t often realize that local news need to reflect the issues and concerns of the community. So the question, in realizing this, is how do you figure out what that is?

In a traditional sense, says Ms. Miller, you read the Globe, think something is fascinating and go out and ask more questions. This new Declare your Curiosity campaign allows readers to go directly to a news outlet to declare what they want to watch on their nightly news.

This concept falls away from crowd-sourcing in that CBS is not putting the job of a journalist in the hands of a citizen. Instead, they are relying on citizens to find interesting stories and come to WBZTV, where they can do the proper job of a journalist.

Thus far, the program has had just over 6,000 users submit almost 10,000 curiosities – pretty impressive.

I think this idea is fascinating, and is without a doubt the future of journalism. Today, investigative reporters rely on tips and chance, bumping into stories and people who may just happen to bring us a great front page story. The reality is, journalists are such a small population of the world. Those who aren’t spending their lives digging for dirt are often the ones who have the best dirt right in front of them.

A great example of that was a story Ms. Miller discussed during her time with us on Wednesday. A truck driver submitted a curiosity about low hanging telephone wires. What developed was a short investigative article about the laws of hanging telephone wires in Massachusetts.

Be sure watch the advertisement for the campaign – maybe you can even submit your own curiosity.

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January 29, 2010. Tags: , , , . Class Posts.

One Comment

  1. kordmiller replied:

    Thanks for listening. and being impressed with that we are doing. We are trying.
    Stephanie Miller

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