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Deciding What Stories Not to Cover

With only 27 minutes to thoroughly cover issues with a host and four panelists, quite often, the most important decision a producer can make is not what issues to cover, but what issues not to cover.

This week, both the panel and I worked together to decide what not to cover, not based on time, but based on a distinct judgment call.

Most of the issues for the Jan. 14th edition of Colorado Inside Out were easy to decide. The Tucson Shootings, Governor Hickenlooper’s Inauguration and the beginning of the legislative session were obvious topics. However, the potential fourth topic wasn’t an easy call.

The fourth topic of the show is not always one the panel can get to if time gets tight. It is often sacrificed, based on how the conversation during the show goes.  Most of the time, it’s a decision made during the production, made solely by the Producer.

However sometimes, a panel and their producer can agree beforehand that we simply won’t get to a fourth topic. This week, we cognitively made that choice.

The reason we decided to forego a fourth topic and simply go two rounds of questions on the first topic was based on the background of another big story this week.

The story that would have been the fourth topic was about the Greeley School board member who runs the low power 104.7 FM station, and is getting criticism for broadcasting extremely critical and controversial comments about Martin Luther King Jr.

While this story had everything we usually talk about on Colorado Inside Out, politics, controversy, Freedom of Speech issues, we decided to leave it alone.

We felt as a panel that we couldn’t move the discussion forward. Any discussion of the issues involved would simply bring more attention to a guy who is obviously only seeking attention, and not do much else.

In fact, I worried that writing a blog entry about it would do that same thing.

But, the reason I bring this up is because it highlights how the panel, the host and I all work together to decide our discussion points and work to provide something special on our program.

Colorado Inside Out was designed 19 years ago to be a special kind of show. We try to not just regurgitate news stories, but to move the discussion forward with panelists that have insider knowledge of the issues. But we must fulfill that mission with a conscience.

We refuse to simply be an echo chamber, or to just advance one person’s goal of self-promotion.

I guess what it comes down to is we try to think about the impact of our words.

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. But we do believe we are providing a service, and that must be done responsibly. We are presented with a powerful pulpit from which to speak, and we must treat it with a great deal of respect.

But don’t worry; we don’t mind getting our hands dirty along the way, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for tuning in and as always, please let us know how you feel and let us know if you have any questions about the program or its production that you may be wondering about.

This is your show too, so feel free to join the discussion. The comment button is just a click away.

This entry was posted in 12 Talk by Dominic Dezzutti. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dominic Dezzutti

As the CPT12 Director of Production, Dominic Dezzutti is the coordinating producer for the station's weekly community affairs programs. Dominic serves as producer for Colorado Inside Out , Colorado Decides - the debate series jointly produced with CBS4 and serves as Executive Producer of CPT12's weekly live call-in program, Studio 12.

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