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The Daily Need

Reveal, rebuild, reconsider

Welcome to the Daily Need. Ever since we began to imagine what Need to Know would be, we’ve expected our website to include a blog that featured robust, lively, provocative conversation, all day long, between you out there and us in here, at PBS. The Need to Know website launched the first of May, and while we love our website and appreciate the hard work of everyone who posts original stories, videos, blogs, photo galleries and the like…we did feel that something was missing. We really wanted a blog.

So here it is. The NTK staff will be posting news, opinion, funny stuff, awkwardly revealing information about ourselves, and more, every day. We hope you’ll respond, a lot.

I was asked to write the first blog because I’m the executive producer of Need to Know. Or maybe because I was the only one who would spend part of a holiday weekend at work. Hmmm. Well, whatever — every week I’ll be writing about what we’re planning to do on the web and on the TV program. I’ll also provide the kinds of details about our editorial process that I hope will lead to a clearer understanding of what we do, and why.

It may not satisfy either the people who think we’re Marxists or those who think we do our work stooped under the thumb of The Man, but there’s not much I can do about that.

After a full week of being Under The Man’s Thumb, my back just kills me. I wonder if Obamacare pays for chiropractic service.

Here’s what we’ve got going this week. We’re doing a lot of thinking about America, Nine Years Later. We will bring you the puzzling and disturbing case of the Fort Dix Five. They are five young men are in jail, most of them for life, convicted of plotting a terror attack on Fort Dix. Jon will interview an anti-terrorism expert about the tricky matter of preventive prosecution.

Alison will be down at the World Trade Center site, where finally there is construction going on, to explain what’s being built and why it has taken so long to develop a plan.

And we’ll see excerpts from a documentary called “My Trip to Al Qaeda,” based on the play by reporter Lawrence Wright. The film focuses on Wright’s exploration of the journalist’s boundaries while reporting on terrorists. It was made by documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, who is interviewed by Alison. Gibney is the filmmaker of “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” “Taxi To the Dark Side,” and later this year, a documentary about Elliot Spitzer and another called “Casino Jack,” about Jack Abramoff. Gibney is probably the smartest guy in whatever room he’s in, and a fascinating interview.

And of course Meach will have an essay, putting 9/11 in perspective.

Talk to us, people.