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October 12, 2008

We Asked for Input; You Gave It. Preview to The Wrap News

What do our readers want?

Independence. Context. Analysis. Investigation. Fact-based reporting. A forward-looking narrative. A global perspective.

Those were the comments from those who took our survey last week about the landscape of entertainment news, sent to nearly 1,000 Hollywood insiders. From the shortest response to the longest commentary, the thought-leaders who took our survey  confirm what I believe to be true: there is a void where thoughtful, substantive coverage of Hollywood and media ought to be.

"They all need an overhaul," writes one respondent of the current alternatives. "There's too much celebrity, gossip news that serves as blaring white noise to block out the good things happening in the industry outside of the blockbuster films."

"The lies bother me most about online entertainment reporting," writes another. "Would like to see more reporting on traditional entertainment trends and less gossip."

Other comments were shorter and to the point:

  • "Missing: perspective Bothers me: lack of thought."
  • "There is no serious coverage of the film and television industries and absolutely no investigative reporting being done."
  • "No information about future trends and most news is very superficial. No in depth stories."

Some were concerned about the lack of independent reporting, free of agendas and personal favors. "There is too much obligation in the relationships between the trades and the studios," writes one. "The daily papers don't have enough insight; much of the blogging has a personal agenda." Also this: "Most news on most all sites is exactly the same information; some reporting is needed and not just posting pre-prepared press releases."

And a thought frequently repeated was the need for smart reporting on the ways in which the entertainment industry is shifting in fundamental ways.   "I think the business is changing rapidly and there needs to be more focus on companies that are forging ahead, making changes, part of the new landscape," wrote one.

Finally, there was this gem of a comment: "Hollywood is neck-and-neck with Washington for being choked by spin. Too much PR power-brokering and captivity to trends. Someone needs to call it like they see it, and hold entertainment to the same accountability standards as other industries."

That is precisely what we intend to do when The Wrap News launches in January. Aggressive reporting to the highest of standards, for the purpose of informing our readership and engaging their participation.

If we don’t live up to this standard, I trust that all you readers will let us know. But the hope is that you will be active participants in the community that we create, a community of real-time news and information, of analysis and criticism, of ideas and debate.

The survey went out to a broad range of entertainment insiders and media professionals. They were divided evenly among men and women; about a third of our respondents are members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


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