Arizona State University (ASU), in Phoenix, is home to the award-winning Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The program continues to produce some of the nation's most promising news professionals, working across a wide spectrum of disciplines.
As part of this stored program, the school maintains a TV production department that is responsible for such noteworthy programs as its nightly "NewsWatch" newscast (in English and Spanish), a sports show (that airs on Fox Sports Arizona) and the Cronkite News Service (cronkitenewsonline.com), a wire feed of news coming out of the state of Arizona that's produced daily by students. The local PBS station, KAET, also shares the building for its studios and often broadcasts content produced by students in the department.
In its effort to update the equipment and technology for its students, the school often seeks outside donations and sponsorships (or "professional partnerships") to help make ends meet. In its three years since it opened the department's production facilities, both Apple (hundreds of Final Cut Pro systems, XSAN and servers) and Sony (EX-1 field and HDVS studio cameras with Fujinon lenses, an MVS8000 HD switcher and other gear) have stepped up with discounted equipment and free networking expertise.
The latest such generosity is from broadcast graphics equipment vendor Chyron (http://www.chyron/, in Melville, NY), which has made it possible for the school to buy (at a drastically discounted rate) a Chyron cloud-based Axis World Graphics and Camio graphics management system for one of its newsrooms. The gear, which was installed a few months ago, is all tied together with Chyron's BlueNet networking technology, which Chyron staff has set up and trained students on.
"We have a long-standing relationship with Chyron that goes back before we were in our new facility," said Mark Lodato, assistant dean and news director of the Cronkite School. "We're pleased that Chyron is continuing to support our mission and that students continue to have access to the latest technology out there. We're now able to put students in one space providing content to multiple distribution platforms. These sorts of professional partnerships allow us to take our program to a higher level than we would be able to accomplish by ourselves."
BlueNet works with Chyron's suite of graphics tools (including Camio) to streamline the ordering and clip management of graphics elements. This fosters collaborative graphics creation and real-time playout. At ASU productions will benefit from a tight integration between BlueNet and the AXIS cloud-based service. Chyron said that throughout the graphics workflow, BlueNet gives users fast access to the tools and resources they need. If a graphic already exists locally, producers and journalists working in the newsroom or in the field can fulfill a template request and move it to air in seconds.
"The requirements being put on journalists these days is different from the past," said Michael Wellesley-Wesley, president and CEO at Chyron. "You still have to properly research and write good news stories, but an awful lot more is expected of reporters now. They often have to shoot, edit and add graphics to their stories. So, we're looking to put easy-to-use tools into the hands of people who are going to graduate and face this challenge of having to multitask."
In honor of the charitable gift (an official ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, Nov. 2nd, the school's Cronkite News Service newsroom was been renamed the Chyron Media Center at ASU. Launched in September 2010 as a service to Arizona citizens, Cronkite News is available free online and content will now be produced at the Chyron Media Center at ASU. Cronkite News combines professionally edited content produced by Cronkite News Service, Cronkite NewsWatch and other professional experiences offered to advanced students in Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Sue Clark-Johnson, a member of Board of Directors at Chyron who is also a working journalist and on the faculty of Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, initiated and secured the "long-term partnership."
"We are absolutely delighted about our partnership with Chyron," said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School. Chyron's technology will join with other vendors' products to "help ensure that future journalists and media leaders learn with the very best, state-of-the-art equipment and graphics software available to the industry."
The new facilities now include an end-to-end Chyron BluNet workflow, which allows hundreds of students to simultaneously build graphics using templates in the cloud within Chryon's Axis graphics production system as a service. The school will have access to the latest developments in software, as it becomes available. Some of that advanced functionality might be developed at ASU itself.
Once stories are complete, students playout files to air using StoryCut software (from a company called Sienna) in tandem with the school's ENPS newsroom computer system to create MOS-compliant objects, build a playlist on an Apple Server and then use another piece of software called AutomationX that uses GPI triggers supplied by the Sony switcher.
"The hope is that students will enjoy the state-of-the-art technology and collaborative workflow, and enjoy using Axis," Wellesley-Wesley said, admitting that finding the next-generation of news professionals and getting them familiar with the Chyron brand. "We're also looking to get good 'real-world' feedback from students and faculty about our technology and how it can be improved upon. We'll also test new types of services there, with the potential to launch them commercially."
With CAMIO, Chyron's latest dedicated news graphics management platform, graphic artists can build assets and upload them once for immediate access by output devices and hundreds of simultaneous newsroom client workstations.
Chyron has donated to local universities and high schools on Long Island (where the company is based) in the past and takes prides in its philanthropy.
"We try to help educational establishments move their students into becoming familiar with broadcast technologies whenever we get an opportunity," said Wellesley-Wesley. "We don't give it away, but we make it very affordable for them so they get access to it quickly and can use it successfully. We'll be looking to give to others as well."