Former LA Times newsman takes on role as reader representative at MSNBC
This column appeared July 1, 2001, in the Online Journalism Review. Here’s the version on the OJR site.
By J.D. Lasica
Online news has its first ombudsman. But to hear him tell it, the view from cyberspace doesn’t differ from terra firma as much as he’d expected.
“The thing that has surprised me most is that the kinds of concerns readers have on the Web track pretty closely with their concerns in traditional media,” says Dan Fisher, who began his job as ombudsman for MSNBC in mid-April.
The idea for an ombudsman originated with MSNBC editor-in-chief Merrill Brown, who wanted to send the message that MSNBC is a news organization concerned about serious journalism, Fisher says.
They couldn’t have made a more stellar choice than Fisher, who worked 27 years at the Los Angeles Times as a reporter, editor and bureau chief in Moscow, London, Warsaw and Jerusalem. He left the Times to become managing editor of Microsoft Sidewalk and then served five years as editor-in-chief of the MSN MoneyCentral Web site before retiring and joining the ranks of the self-employed.
So the man knows something about the Web, and journalism, and credibility.