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Jeff Jarvis posted this question: If you had a network...:
I'd be interested to hear what you have to say. Here's my take:
Jeff has a good point and a bad point...
Making MSNBC the anti-Fox News Channel is silly. Whatever propaganda Media Matters for America is putting out, the reality is that most large news organizations are sympathetic to the lib/dem point of view. There is no pent-up demand for a cable news network that is as liberal as Fox is conservative. If there were Rupert Murdoch would have created a liberal version of FNC.
How about putting the MS back in MSNBC?
Skip politics and focus on being the "WIRED" news network. Jeff is old enough to remember that as originally conceived (or at least promoted), MSNBC anticipated the connected, broadband world we now live in (at least in the US). Now that we actually live in that world why not go back to the original game plan and make MSNBC the most wired of the cable news shows.
They could start by streaming the show on the web 24/7. They ought to be able to figure out a way to compensate cable and satellite providers for offering their programming through the web.
On the web site the screen could take up a corner of the screen (with a button to expand to full screen) and the rest of the home page would be synchronized to the content in the newscast. Those scrolling tickers would be clickable on the web...as a newsstory aired the site could serve up links to related stories on the web including blog posts that link to the MSNBC.com version of the story. Every segment on every story could be packaged as a video podcast and displayed on a page with the MSNBC.com text version of the story. Those video podcasts could be distributed over segmented ("tagged") RSS feeds. A real effort should be made to promote all of this by not only making the site blog-friendly but doing segments/interviews of the people making news or generating buzz in the blogosphere (note: not having noted bloggers as pundits as was tried).
The newscast on cable/satellite should move towards the Bloomerg News Channel format with lots of information wrapped around the box except when showing video/images that are of particular interest. There is little value to providing full screen video of Chris Matthews talking to John Murtha. Why not show an interview like that with lots of information about Murtha, his critics, a scrolling set of viewer comments...make the newscast more like pop-up videos on MTV. Maybe limit the viewer comments in some way to cut down on the clap-trap...registered "super-users", a team of 1,000 selected bloggers, whatever...just not any idiot with a modem. During time slots when MSNBC is running taped material like Headliners and Legends give web viewers the option to watch alternative programming - maybe have someone who has developed a following like Monica Novatny or the guy with the headphones on Tucker Carlson or even some of the analysts like Jack Jacobs do their own little mini-shows, interviews, etc. I'm sure they have lots of people working there who would be thilled to have their own "show" on MSNBC.com. Maybe these shows become something like a farm system for the MSNBC cable channel.
I have loads of other ideas along these lines but to put it simply, if I were running MSNBC I'd be looking at how best to leverage my online strength to become a meaningful media outlet - that would mean sublimating the cable channel to MSNBC.com and making the shows more blog-like (in other words, more like Countdown with Keith Olbermann which mixes and matches repurposed newsreports, youtube-type videos, commentary and stories generating buzz on the blogs.)