As a regular viewer of "The Sweet Spot," a New York Times video blog by David Carr and A. O. Scott, I began to think of the emphasis journalists and journalism schools place on connecting with the audience.
Having individual reporters "vlog" or do radio
interviews on specific pieces is not a new form of engaging audience
with the news. However, "The Sweet Spot" goes above and beyond to show
the usually invisible faces of "traditional" news organizations, like
the New York Times.
Carr and Scott literally sit down with viewers
on a regular basis and carry out, what seems like, natural conversations
on topics that are not scripted and edited like in broadcast news
segments. The flow of their dialogue is not awkward and looks for new
angles on mostly arts & cultural issues, but sometimes issues like
election coverage. Most importantly, the vlogs interview various NYT
reporters and editors on their opinions or usual habits. In the segment
"Election Overload," they asked about consumption of election news. In
past segments, they've revealed reporters' guilty pleasures, often
finding middle-aged editors who love the song "Call Me Maybe." In
"Election Overload" they even interviewed Executive Editor Jill
While these are fairly simple dialogues and topics, I
feel they are a new form of audience interaction that more "traditional"
organizations should explore in order to continue being relevant.
a brief side note, because I usually critique multimedia production, it
did seem that in most of the one-on-one interviews "The Sweet Spot"
failed to use a tripod to stabilize the camera. As this is a pet peeve
for me, I do find it amazing that this is an issue for even the New York
The Sweet Spot "Election Overlode?"