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02.28.2005
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Metadata essential for new news workflow at Sarasota News Network


News footage metadata will be used in SNN’s Dalet Digital Media Systems newsroom computer system to locate and retrieve desired resources.

If all goes as planned, SNN Channel 6 (Sarasota News Network), will make a major change in its news gathering workflow March 18, when the 24/7 local cable news network begins using new IT-based video solutions for field acquisition and newsroom operations.

SNN, which is owned by The New York Times Company and aligned with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, will begin using 10 new Panasonic P2 tapeless cameras for news acquisition and commercial production. SNN’s conversion from linear tape-based acquisition to solid state recording offers an instructive look at the importance of metadata to new IT-based news production and management, said SNN general manager, electronic media Lou Ferrara.

SNN is a rather small newsgathering operation, so much of the metadata gathering and entering will fall to the network’s news shooters in the field, he said. Some will transfer footage from their P2 Flash memory chips to laptops where they will enter metadata, write scripts and even edit stories. However, most shooters will return to SNN’s newsroom, transfer footage from a P2 deck via USB to Dell computers and enter metadata there before returning to the field, he said.

Metadata — the basic who, where, what and when — that’s used to identify the content of a clip is critical to successful IT-based workflow. With it, reporters, producers and news directors can quickly and easily locate and begin using a desired clip. Without it, the potential efficiencies IT offers would go unrealized.

Ferrara understands the importance of metadata to his transformed operation and how it underpins “long-term searchability and integration with the Web,” he said. Part of that recognition comes from “the newspaper side of my brain” where long-used conventions for slugging a story are standard.

However, when it comes to video SNN is starting with a blank slate. “Once everything is in house we will figure the details out,” he said. This much is known, metadata is essential to SNN’s new workflow and the efficiencies realized from dumping tape will more than compensate for the time needed to create metadata in the first place.

For more information on the SNN setup see: “SNN to roll out IT-centric news workflow next month.”

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