25 March 2009

Educator-In-Chief Schools Press Corps

The president showed up on time last night, did his thing, answered the same old questions with the same old answers from some of the same old faces and few new ones for an hour, and left.

The news media will still be talking and writing about this on Friday.

As Brown Man Thinking Hard Number One, President Barack Obama held court last night, searching for the most complete answer he could come up with in response to the wide ranging questions he fielded from the pool of reporters.

Maybe it's just me, but the reporters seem to have become a distraction in this process, not because they are asking questions of the Obama administration – I could go for a two hour press conference myself – but because of the amount of importance they place on their own roles in the process as news shapers rather than news deliverers.

I saw a few minutes of the chatter by the political pundits on CNN after the press conference. The things these people were coming up with to explain the meaning behind the question and answer session were so off base at one point that I simply turned it off.

One of the things I've learned in doing a lot of business over the telephone is that most people don’t listen well. In order to know that the person I’m talking to has been fully exposed to new information I’m trying to explain, I’ve learned to repeat myself by saying the same thing a second time with different terminology, then illustrating my point by using an example, and finally, recapping the whole exchange with a brief synopsis of what I'd just said.

This is pretty much what President Obama did all night.

I sincerely think that the current news model does not have the capacity to handle our current multi-channel, multilevel personal information delivery needs. If these media behemoths want to remain tied to the traditional linear narrative story arc that is the backbone of the system they are using now, they are doomed.

In a post modern world, your audience is more sophisticated than ever before. The two things President Obama pointed out, when he spoke about persistence in the face of adversity and the idea that many of the changes that are happening now won’t become apparent for years to come, were spoken as if he was talking directly to us, as if he speaking over the heads of the reporters who were licking their wounds because they didn’t get called on or scribbling furiously because they did get called on.

Keep up the good work, Educator-in-Chief.

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