No worry: In-depth interviews will be prominent

The mail bag emptied and its contents spread across my desk, creating a mountain of white so high I couldn’t see over it. Virtually speaking, that’s what happened as I paged through my overflowing inbox last week and gathered even more messages via MPR News’ Facebook page. Imagine that. Then again, perhaps the avalanche wouldn’t have happened without our technology-fueled spirit of being candid with each other. In this case, because you care, it was a beautiful thing.

We invited your thoughts and reactions to the news of our new show, The Daily Circuit, launching Feb. 21 and airing daily 9a-noon.

Overwhelmingly, you sent us one caution: Don’t “dumb down” the show by superficially discussing too many topics. You’re worried that we’ll “chop the program into short bits,” create an “infotainment” show, “ping-pong” like crazy from one topic to another – or worse “… Get too cutesy.” No, even worse: You’ll become “Good morning, Omaha.”

The admonitions are understandable. We’ve been saying that the new show will be delivering more topics at a faster pace because, yes, we’re generally moving away from one topic per hour.

Time, though, doesn’t always equal depth. A news organization delivers depth when its journalists ask sharp questions, push past stock answers and follow-up. That’s what separates MPR News interviews from other broadcasters.

And we will be giving those issues the time and consideration you’ve come to expect. Each hour of the three-hour show will include a segment that could range between 35 and 50 minutes. The length will be determined by the complexity and timeliness of the topic and what else may be in the news. That’s not “dumbing down” the news. In fact, we make those decisions every day, across all our programming, balancing depth and comprehension.

Based on what we know about how people listen to our programs, The Daily Circuit’s mix should keep you listening more frequently and for a longer time. One person wrote: “The thing I appreciate most about MPR is the presentation of complex topics, thorough analysis and discussion by knowledgeable people from different perspectives.”

Thank you. We take that seriously, and that’s precisely what we’ll continue to do.

Chris Worthington, Managing Director of Regional News

  • Glad to hear you respond to this. I too have been concerned that the new “daily circuit” will try to pack in too much. It sounds like it could/might have more going on than NPR’s talk of the nation. As much as I like that program, I have found MPR’s mid-morning and mid-day to be better because MPR’s shows have taken the time to really thoughtfully explore the issues. Including, for example, Kerri’s opening and thoughtful questions for the first 15-20 minutes, followed by robust questions from the audience. With the news “interruptions” taking up some of the time, I am often left wanting even more at the end of the hour as it is.

    John Moe recently commented on the Market Place Tech report that some social media sites fail because they are successful and then are able to hire a bunch of talented people, and these talented people want to do clever things, and those clever things end up screwing up the simplicity that originally made the site attractive. His ending line was something like just because adding more is possible doesn’t mean it is a good idea. So, despite your reassurance in this column, I just want to echo those sentiments: keep it simple and keep it in-depth. And keep up the good work.

    (By the way, I am a fan of all 3 personalities associated with the circuit, so that part is reassuring too.)

  • Ramona Rice

    I like what you’ve been hearing from other listeners as reported above. In-depth is good. Friendliness is good, but not goofiness. I like being part of discussions about the world we live in. My kids say I’m a news junkie. I am looking forward to this new show.

  • tboom

    >>… yes, we’re generally moving away from one topic per hour.

    Time, though, doesn’t always equal depth.

  • tboom

    oops,

    dumb down = dumbed down (if dumbed is a real word)

    Smart Money = Sound Money

    too = to

    I rally ned and editor,