Intelligent search aids faster story creation
- With X.news
With Contributing Editor Adrian Pennington…
X.news is arguably the most powerful software on the market for news and information monitoring. It solves a real frustration for journalists and producers who are under increasing pressure to get news published at speed. Typically, a reporter assigned a task has to build their story by finding relevant topics and the latest news and information about them. Doing that often involves switch between many applications and browser tabs. It’s a time-consuming task with multiple logins and searches, limited mobility and even less capability to collaborate with colleagues in a shared environment.
x.news helps overcome these problems by enabling users to find their curated and qualified sources in one place on any internet connected device. They can receive alerts on relevant updates and collaborate across the globe and save a lot of time spent on research.
The pandemic has only exacerbated this need.
Most users in media, corporate and public sectors were forced to work remotely. Collaboration became more difficult. And with all the internal, professional, social and communication sources, the problems of multi-siloed research increased. Finally, fake news and misinformation expanded, requiring extra diligence and verification. x.news 3.0 to the rescue
x.news, the developer behind the product, saw the crisis as an opportunity by offering x.news™ 3.0 free of charge to media organizations with collections of verified sources around Covid and later on the US elections.
These trials enabled x.news, while being fully GDPR compliant, to validate its new 3.0 feature stack with a broader user audience.
The new release has a number of new functions which give users more control. Among them, a ‘Now’ function analyses content from all designated sources and spotlights important topics to know about or follow.
Explains x.news CEO Andreas Pongratz, “Prior to ‘Now’ users typically started their research by following the latest news reports across their selected collections (e.g. International news, Formula 1, Champions League) or sources (e.g. Twitter, agencies, newspaper subscriptions, etc.). ‘Now’ does this now constantly and on behalf of the user to propose emerging or trending topics for each of the selected collections. Users can click on a topic of interest and immediately see all related articles in one place and, if needed, they can create a customized topic to follow straight from there.”
‘Delivr’ examines a query and then searches for matching items across nearly 200,000 global news websites. “Before ‘Delivr’, a user or team would need to define the sources they wanted to follow for a particular topic or story,” he says. “Using search terms defined by the user, Delivr searches for what users need across thousands of public news and information sites, regardless of whether those sources are in their system.”
Other functions including ‘Link collector’ which ingests links contained in articles into the system and hence makes it searchable. The Timeline gives you the opportunity to explore how your stories have evolved.
Sometimes the latest isn’t the best fit for your research. X.news sorts story relevance according to customized filters, such as trustworthiness and usage behaviour (locally stored on user device due to GDPR compliance requirements).
Confidence in sources
In addition to favoring trusted sources selected by the user and/or preselected in the x-news database, a ‘More on this’ feature allows for a form of verification. Just select a story and the system will use that to search other trusted and curated external and internal sources that might have similar or related material, including either sources that corroborate the information, or flag it as problematic.
“These results can help the user have confidence in judging the veracity of a story or item,” says Pongratz. “If a story is standing alone without mentions from other sources, users can flag the story for other team members as something that requires further research.”
The software integrates with publishing platforms and internal documents, including email and provides extensive, customizable features. This includes with agencies, internal systems (Avid, Digas, VizOne, image libraries, PDF collections, medical records), social sources (Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, YouTube), Websites and communication tools (WhatsApp, Line).
x.news has run numerous tests with clients that showed, in one case, that a story surfaced in x-news 25 minutes before being mentioned by wire services. In another case, a researcher at a traditional desk sat next to an x-news user with preconfigured settings, and both were given the same story. The user with x.news was 45 minutes earlier on air than the other.
“Think of the multi-siloed screens with up to 16 apps and 20 tabs that are commonplace,” says Pongratz. “How much time would a user spend by just switching between those – not to mention what happens when a search needs to be modified or re-defined. And on mobile devices this is even more time consuming. Customers who tested x.news found considerable time savings.”
The system is able to build to learn from each user, such as what (sources/articles/genre) the user reads more often or what sources they rank high or low. This intelligent internal feedback loop helps serve even more relevant sources and articles to the journalist.
“We are pretty confident that journalists or users in corporate or public organizations always have to be in the driver seat to do most content creation,” Pongratz says. “AI eventually will suggest stories or drafts but humans will always make sure they are credible and done properly.
Asharq News accelerate digital news production
Asharq News was planned, designed and implemented by Qvest Media as a complete greenfield project. There was no need to take on legacy or make technological compromises.
“We were able to pursue our best-of-breed approach and realise a media infrastructure that is unique in the entire MENA region,” says Philipp Glänzel, Qvest Media’s General Manager and CTO in Dubai. “This is reflected not least in the fact that, in close cooperation with the other manufacturers, we created an infrastructure that is end-to-end ST 2110 and NMOS-capable.”
To accelerate digital news production, Asharq News uses the cloud application management and orchestration platform qibb. As an integration layer, qibb integrates all external news agencies into the news production workflow. Using qibb, internal content distribution is orchestrated via various connected production tools: the Avid iNEWS newsroom system, the Avid MediaCentral | Cloud UX production platform, and the powerful research tools x.news and Burli NewsHub. Using x.news, the workflow allows journalists to search and browse content from several news agencies such as Reuters and AFP using multimedia wire services.
The Social Media research capabilities of x.news for Twitter, Facebook and RSS Feeds also provide a holistic news gathering and research environment. Additional integrations for WhatsApp chat groups and medical information services like Mayo Clinic as well as for financial news services from Bloomberg provide 360-degree real-time information to Asharq’s journalists.
“The feedback from Asharq News and our other customers where we have integrated x.news has always been positive. Customers want technology to help them in their ability to produce and publish news content faster. Software applications must be intuitive and easy to use to achieve this speed in publishing for the users. As a systems integrator it is also important that software tools support a variety of standards and offer openness so that they can be integrated seamlessly and flexibly into new or existing workflows. For live news programs it is also vital that the products are mature and error-free because every second can count, especially in content aggregation, production, and news publishing. This applies not only to x.news, but to all applications.”