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Masstech Pulls Double Duty at WJLA

WASHINGTON—WJLA is the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. and is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sister station NewsChannel 8, a regional 24-hour cable news network, is housed in the same building. The two stations share newsgathering resources and produce more than 130 hours of live news each week.

Ernie Ensign helped oversee the installation of Masstech’s newsroom media management system at WJLA.

A long-term news archive solution was needed for WJLA and NewsChannel 8. With the high volume of valuable material we produce, it was crucial the content be reliably archived, easily searchable and quickly available for retrieval, enabling journalists to rapidly incorporate it into new productions. In addition to storing the media assets, the selected system needed to archive the news scripts as well. It was also essential the system be easily scalable to expand with our long-term archive needs.

Sinclair selected Masstech’s newsroom media management solution to meet the stations’ needs. WJLA’s Masstech system was deployed in June 2015 and was initially integrated with our AP ENPS newsroom computer system (NRCS) and Imagine Communications Nexio playout servers, alongside Velocity for editing. For storage, the solution uses a Spectra Logic LTO tape library. Installation took place in the background, completely transparent to our ongoing news operations. Masstech’s support team helped keep everyone in the loop during every step of the process, ensuring the system performed as expected, and accommodated our training needs.

Masstech’s integration flexibility was crucial when we subsequently switched our NRCS from ENPS to Avid iNEWS at the end of the summer. The Masstech software integrates seamlessly with both platforms, enabling users to access its functionality through the NRCS user interface and acting as a transparent bridge for our archived content. When searching and retrieving content for reuse, our journalists don’t need to think about whether the video and story were archived from ENPS or iNEWS, the Masstech software automatically takes care of the technical details.

Our previous archive had been detached from our newsroom computer system. Now, Masstech’s plugin integration with iNEWS puts all of our archived content in one place and puts users just clicks away from any potentially needed asset.

Masstech has helped streamline our newsroom operations by not only putting archived content at producers’ fingertips, but also integrating content from other news stations in the group. With just a few clicks, producers can pull content into our internal workflow from any Sinclair station and add that material to their shows, saving time while enabling more content-rich productions.

We archive between 450 and 500 stories a week through the Masstech solution by indicating in iNEWS which stories we want Masstech to process. It works unassisted in the background to automatically archive all of the content we may need at a later date, without disrupting our production workflow. Newsroom personnel don’t need to perform additional tasks to accommodate the archive process.

The Masstech system at WJLA currently manages around 80,000 assets totaling more than 15TB of content. That number will continue to grow rapidly as we archive new content and bring in more of our legacy archives, which span spinning disks and more than 2,500 Blu-ray discs.

Masstech has exceeded our expectations, and we are now considering additional opportunities the Masstech system can enable for the station and the group.

Ernie Ensign is director of engineering at WJLA-TV. He holds SBE certifications of CBTE and CBNE, and has 20 years of television experience spanning news, operations and engineering. He can be reached

For more information, visitwww.masstech.comor call 905-946-5712.