Dana McClintock, CBS SVP on the East Coast, said the embattled network acknowledges the reputation benefits involved in the initiative.
"The idea of the Public Eye blog is to have someone to mediate the discussion between CBS News and the public," McClintock said. "It's providing openness and transparency. So as far as it being a PR vehicle, it's a shrewd move."
CBS has suffered credibility issues ever since it ran a story alleging President Bush's preferential treatment while in the National Guard on its 60 Minutes II program, citing evidence from memos it later could not substantiate.
McClintock said he expected bloggers to pay attention and blog about it, and that the communications department would monitor that conversation.
One of those bloggers, Kevin Craver at Rathergate.com, viewed the move warily.
"I didn't poo-poo the idea right away," Craver told PRWeek. "I'm keeping an open mind... and I welcome the fact they're serious about blogs. But I don't have high expectations, and I've earned the right to say that."
Craver said that the transparency CBS offered meant that it had to respond quickly and openly when something wrong happened and explain how a mistake would be fixed.
Vaughn Ververs, previously editor of the National Journal's The Hotline website, will maintain the blog. It will debut sometime later this summer. The organization also announced a revamp of CBSNews.com, including streaming more free video and approaching the website as a constantly updated, 24-hour news source.