The Observer is promoting transparency in journalism with 'The Convo.'
What are we doing here, exactly?
It’s a question we know many of you have about us at The Observer and about journalists at large. Social media is full of people not quite understanding how the information they read gets onto the page.We get questions from friends and family, too: “How do you know all this?” and “Why do some papers use anonymous sources?” and “How many people check your work before it goes to print?” For some reason, journalism has failed to answer these questions. As a result of that and other things, trust in journalism is low. In fact, a study from the Knight Foundation found that just 41% of U.S. citizens had a great or fair amount of trust in news media in 2017.
That study also shows a way for trust to rebound — transparency. In essence, answering those questions people have. Being open about the way stories are reported and how information is verified.
We’re looking to do our part to bring that change. Enter “The Convo,” a new monthly podcast hosted by reporter Ryan Kohn. Each episode of “The Convo” will have Kohn interviewing a member of our team about how they do their job, either generally or when reporting a specific story.
If we’re doing it right, “The Convo” should feel a lot like being in our newsroom. Listeners will learn a lot about goings-on in our area, but they will also hear stories from the beat that don’t make it into the paper and get a feel for the people behind the product. They’ll hear us laugh — a lot — and they’ll hear us go deep on issues like the ethics behind going on or off the record, or why we consider the internet to be written in ink, just like our print papers. They’ll also hear us talk about the inane aspects of the job, like the joy of receiving silly press releases.
We also expect the show to evolve over time, so all of this is subject to change. No matter what, we will hold up the promise to take listeners behind the curtain.
Four episodes are available now, including a chat with Executive Editor Kat Hughes about our annual Spirit of America section and the challenges of putting it together in 2020. There are plenty of ways to listen. You can subscribe to "The Convo" on your podcast aggregator of choice by searching its title, you can visit the show’s fancy-looking website for a full list of episodes, or, if you want a test listen before you subscribe, you can listen to the embedded player below: