Story idea 11.28.2010

Let’s consider MOS for a mo…

Has a couple of meanings…in the olden days of film, it mean “mit out sound.” Then it evolved into “man on the street.” The current meaning. A series of uninformed random folks hunted down and nailed with a compelling stare and threatening hunk ‘o metal and demand for their opinion, but “keep short.”

I was never quite sure WHY we did these random snatches of sound. Perhaps because we were attempting to be democratic and allow our community’s voices to be heard. Maybe just to fill space. Who know? But….

Story idea: take the MOS, the man on the street to another level. Rather than skimming the surface, dive deep and get some real meaning.

If you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO poll the public, try to go for more than a snapshot and short sound bite…or if you’re the local rag, more than a thumbnail and single sentence. Give your viewers, your audience, some dignity and let them explain their opinion rather than just spewing it.

Typical MOS.
What do you think of (pick a topic).
Answer: It rocks!
or: I think they should ban it!

Duh…what have we learned here. I mean, LEARNED. Not much except one guy loves and and the other hates it. Whatever “it” is.

Now try again.
What do you think of (pick a topic).
Answer: It rocks!
Why?
Answer: Because…(reasons and personal connections).
Ditto the opposing side.

And while we’re at it…let’s get into “fair and balanced.” Uh, no – not that “fair and balanced.” The part that says we always have to balance everything…to the point where we are desperately pushing the deadline to find one – perhaps the ONLY one – person who opposes or thinks otherwise.

Think about it. An MOS is basically a poll…a survey. It is NOT a news story. Surveys are random. If you ask ten people a question and they all have the same response, it indicates something. Now to keep it “fair and balanced” you do need to make sure you are shopping for subjects in an area that representative of your community. (In other words, don’t expect an unbiased set of answers about Universal Health Care if you only go to the Republican Central Committee meeting in your county.)

And…should you be a high school student or teacher lurking around my realm…don’t just interview your buds, your friends. Get out of your comfort zone and go after the gang-bangers, the geeks, the gentry. Hit all of those segregated little clans in the lunch crowd. That way you’ll be sure to cover all of your bases.

One thought on “Story idea 11.28.2010

  1. MOS…..hm, I like the other name I’ve heard for the practice better, “triple A interview.” I’ll let your audience think about the term and what the three A’s could mean.

    And they were doing MOS’s as early as the 1930s, though I’m not sure what they were called then, I’d have to get my hands on dope sheets…err timecode log sheets. The Hauptmann trial in 1935 is a good example of early MOS packages being shot and used.

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