SAN FRANCISCO—Newsrooms of all types may be wise to remember that more and more, consumers are running the show.
That may explain why today’s newsroom technology—be it a traditional broadcast or all-digital or a hybrid of the two—is evolving from single-silo technology operations into connected, software-centric systems that house multiple solutions in a streamlined platform.
The older model no longer works in today’s media environment. That version, in which a newsroom system managed a straightforward broadcast program, has evolved into one with a journalist creating a 10-second video tweet, an editor simultaneously building a 30-second segment to run on a proprietary app, followed by the news team organizing a complex 30-minute news segment with pre-packaged material flecked with curated social media feeds.
Content creators are already aware of how their news philosophies have to realign based on shifting customer behaviors. The newest version of some solutions are keeping that reality in mind by integrating existing news and media asset management platforms with new components that address how people consume news today.
For example, a new web interface in the Avid MediaCentral platform allows reporters in the field who shoot their own video to tie into a system—say, either regional or in the cloud—to search for and find more media assets. That gives journalists access to user-generated content and offers the editorial team access to a map with incoming media feeds, said Ray Thompson, Avid director of broadcast and media solutions.
“[Content creators] are trying to enable mobile workflows—be a broadcast truck in a tablet, if you will—so they can get closer to the story while doing so at a lower cost,” Thompson said. “With basically just a tablet tied back into a centralized system, MediaCentral can leverage media to produce that run down.”
Attention in news has now squarely turned to mobile. “It’s not just millennials that are more reliant on mobile devices,” Thompson said. “Social media now plays such a huge role in how news is produced.”
THINK LIKE A STARTUP
Today’s newsroom software solutions are also allowing content creators to think like a lithe, quick-adapting startup.
“If you wanted to do a true digital workflow with just mobile devices, you can do that,” Thompson said. “We see a lot of startup-type news organizations as well as traditional broadcasters developing a digital group. As they start to grow that audience—which is giving them a great opportunity to reach new revenue—it also allows them to form a direct relationship [with viewers].
The software systems powering these newly revamped editorial rundowns are giving content creators the ability to build a bespoke solution to fit the environment they’re thriving in, according to Arnaud Elnecave, vice president of marketing for Dalet Digital Media Systems.
Based on the stories the newsroom is scheduling and the stories you are trying to build, today’s newsroom systems can aggregate material and suggest what is relevant for the topic. “Based on an assignment, a set of tags can be used as you start building the content,” he said of the Dalet Unified News Operations solution. “You are scripting, editing, building the story [and the system] is able to extract key phrases and forward searches in your inventory.”
The company’s newsroom software solution was designed to be a single enterprise platform with a list of modules that allow journalists, editors and producers to collaboratively plan, create and deliver news. It addresses media asset management for gathering, distributing and delivery; newsroom features for planning, scheduling and assignments; and studio automation.
In that same vein, the company has also introduced “Dalet OnePlay” that leverages MAM and NRCS capabilities automating the control of devices.
“The value is that while you’re conducting your show, you can broker secondary events—such as controlling devices in the studio and triggering automated posts,” Elnecave said. “OTT is a growing trend [so] now it’s not only about putting assets together for on demand stories but it’s also about how you connect with the audience via real-time orchestration within the stream.”
Aveco is addressing newsroom efficiencies through automation and integration. “The most prominent trends in news production revolve around story-production efficiency and increasing the quality of on-air presentations,” said Jim O’Brien, president of Aveco.
Aveco’s Astra Studio includes automation for breaking news, built-in media asset management to quickly find clips, integrated equipment-pool management to share resources efficiently, and integration with production equipment such as switchers, camera robotics and graphics.
For live on-air news automation, the sophistication of production has grown beyond what is practical to verbally cue, O’Brien said. Using live-assist automation allows reliable high-end looks, and accomplishes them efficiently. “With more station groups sharing resources, the impact of this superior design steadily increases in importance,” he said.
When it comes to security, Aveco runs on the operating system QNX, which has an excellent track record when it comes to protecting from virus, O’Brien said. “To have a so-far perfectly safe control core is growing in importance as IT vulnerabilities exponentially expand, from more extensive live field IP infrastructure, multi-site networking connections, increased audience engagement and more online interaction,” he said. “Broadcasters are top hacker targets.”
Newsroom technology is also putting more control into journalists’ hands. “Sometimes the commute times are too long back to the newsroom or [you’re using content] from sources that are not your reporters—say if you’re using social media as a source of content,” Elnecave said. “The workforce in the field wants a more fluid experience. So newsgathering is evolving.
“We are building a digital experience so you remove the borders of the newsrooms that people in the field are working in as they collaborate,” he added.
For example, Euronews, based in Lyon, France, installed a Dalet solution last year to revamp its news channel solution for multiple audiences in multiple languages. Previously, the media company relied on a more traditional broadcast approach to provide a single channel of news programming with language voiceovers dubbed in 12 different languages over the same media.
Now it uses a Dalet newsroom and media management system to tailor programming in those 12 languages to adapt local stories for local audiences. Instead of reinventing the wheel each time a story develops, the company said, journalists can access video, graphics and script on matching topics media on the Dalet OneCut media editor timeline.
“Because we have been able to synchronize, we’ve been able to free up resources,” said Duncan Hooper, digital editor in chief of Euronews when the technology was first installed. “That’s allowed us to increase by about 20 percent the amount of content that we can produce but with the same staff numbers.”