Newsroom Insights and Updates
- With David Kirk
Contributing Editor David Kirk reports on the latest progress in newsroom systems in these ever-challenging times...
News continues to be a vital ingredient of successful television and radio channels, allowing distinctive content to be created for a specific audience based on a distinct region or theme. This report looks at recent product and service developments from some of the major players in the newsroom system sector since InBroadcast’s October 2022 report, including new-for-NAB announcements where known.
Associated Press has diversified its range of newsroom offerings, reflected in a name change to AP Workflow Solutions. "We will be previewing AP ENPS 9.5 at the April 2023 NAB Show," says AP’s director of product management for workflow solutions, Brian Doyle. "The release includes key updates such as the highly anticipated dark mode, re-slugging stories with grouped segments, editing rundown columns from ENPS Mobile, and auto-pinning search results. Updated core components bring security and performance benefits. In addition, AP Playbook 9.5 for editorial planning will include a revamped user interface. From tackling work silos, to modernising task allocation and management, Playbook can help to transform your operations and ensure all your teams are working in the most effective way possible. Alongside Playbook, the output planning in AP Cast, tailored to a newsroom’s chosen platforms and channels, combines coverage and output in a single browser-based environment. The update will provide a refreshed look and feel to AP Playbook, making it even more user-friendly."
7Mountains has added chat support to its Dina newsroom system. "We are constantly thinking about how we can reduce broadcasters’s stress and workload, especially in on-air and close to on-air-situations," says Chief Product Officer Mads Grønbæk. "In Dina-operated newsrooms there is no need for third party chat-software. Clever chat-solutions are now a part of the newsroom and rundown system, tailored for the specific needs of a broadcast operation. Chat in Dina is designed with the specific needs of broadcasters in mind. One of the features is the rundown-chat where you can have separate chats for separate rundowns. When you toggle between rundowns, the chat will switch accordingly, eliminating the risk of confusion and miscommunication."
"From a producer's perspective it’s a dream," adds VP of Product Marketing Bård Hansen, who was producing the 24/7 news and nightly news-show’s at TV 2 in Norway before joining 7Mountains. "You can chat with reporters or directors regarding content in a certain rundown, without having to waste time making sure people understands what show you’re talking about. Dina can be used as a story-centric newsroom system as well as a rundown only solution, meaning that you from Dina can publish directly to any platform: linear, a web-site or any social media. Reporters from different departments of the newsroom can work together on the same story regardless of which platform content is being published to."
"Story-chat is another feature which gives staff working on an assignment the ability to have conversations regarding only the story itself, without the non-topic clutter which typically is the case in traditional chat channels," says 7Mountains CTO Andreas Whiteley. "In a story-chat you will not be bothered with distractions such as 'pizza is here' or who is covering for Kevin who called in sick. The need for old-school chat channels is eliminated in Dina. But of course Dina gives the organisation the ability to establish functions such as group chats or private messages. The chat-functions will further improve in the upcoming Spaces concept we are developing."
Dalet will show a range of cloud-native software-as-a-service offerings at NAB 2023 based on its Flex platform and Pyramid modules. Among these will be “Faster news production and delivery, bringing news operations into a new era of Storytelling 360 with a fully connected, digital-first news operation equipped with web-based tools for collaborative planning, contribution, production, fast-paced media editing, and distribution under a single solution.” FlexMOBILE is a new mobile app for media management, available on Android and iOS. Dalet’s FlexREVIEW collaborative review and approval tool now has expanded audio waveforms support and monitoring for multi-channel files, as well as a refreshed user interface.
CGI's OpenMedia NewsBoard allows journalists and editorial teams to organise their story-centric planning and production processes from any location. "Recent enhancements include a completely re-designed architecture plus an intuitive UI that is fully modular for additional customisation and also designed to be cloud-friendly from the outset," says VP Michael Pfitzner. "A highly configurable board and widget structure supports complete transparency in establishing and maintaining dynamic collaboration within distributed teams, allowing them to set the system up in ways that suit their individual workflows." OpenMedia NewsBoard is joined by a new cloud-native ReporterApp for Android and iOS.
nxtedition’s newsroom system, itself called nxtedition, consolidates many elements a news studio needs into a single user interface. This facilitates the planning and writing of stories, automation of the news studio and output to viewers on linear, social and web. Designed for virtualisation in the cloud and access through web services, it is suitable for remote production and management, allowing journalists to enter, modify and complete story packages from anywhere and enabling editors to work remotely. Swiss news provider Blick TV offers an example of how a fresh approach has created a service that is delivered as objects that are rendered on the viewing device. When the viewer rotates the device, the video, graphics and subtitles are all resized, rotated and repositioned to match the new aspect ratio.
Octopus Newsroom’s Octopus 11 is designed for deployment on-premises or in the cloud, enabling news production from anywhere. "The system streamlines the entire production workflow, whether story-centric, rundown-centric, or a hybrid of both," says COO Gabriel Jankó. "Powerful rundown management enables you to manage the entire lifecycle of your live and pre-recorded content. The adaptive user interface offers flexibility for newscasts, podcasts and social sharing. It is complementary to all playout and graphics systems available. iReporter offers capabilities to get fresh content in the system faster and easier than ever before. Reporters, viewers, stringers and anyone with a mobile device can shoot video and send it in. When seconds matter and new content reigns, this tool is your fast track to fresh content."
Qvest has been active in scoping the digital media supply chain from concept to consumption. "No longer is it only the large broadcasters and studios focused on producing and distributing quality content in an efficient manner but consumer products companies, higher education, and niche content producers creating content with the goal of creating a great direct-to-consumer experience," says Jon Christian, EVP at Qvest.US.
"Following the global pandemic where companies needed to figure out a way to get work done in a remote fashion, we are seeing this trend continue with the acceptance of a true hybrid approach. We will see more studio control systems being operated remotely, more direct camera-to-cloud workflows, and more studio productions being virtualised using the latest VR and AR technologies."
SNews’ Arion is designed to give newsroom teams the facilities they need to monitor, search and filter incoming and archived news. Newsroom teams can create their own rundown including an exact count of surpluses or overruns.
View layouts and colors can be customized to match a channel-preferred design. Arion also allows configuration of subsections, expected length and video clip duration. Externally sourced news can be verified automatically through channels such as RSS, Twitter and Facebook. Shared across the entire newsroom, Arion gives authorized users access to the broadcaster's registered sources via a structured agenda, augmented by the ability to make a direct query via their mobile phone.
Vizrt’s Viz Social 2.0 is designed to integrate with social media and messaging platforms alongside add-ons such as Twitch and Facebook Live extensions. Users can also incorporate custom data from RSS and JSON feeds. "The acquisition of Flowics by Vizrt last year expanded our potential to offer a more efficient platform for the management and visualization of social media posts," says Tehseen Akhtar, deputy global head of product management at Vizrt Group. "The revamped interface allows users to curate posts from all major social media accounts and offer audiences an enhanced experience through high-quality graphics plus the inclusion of user generated commentary. Additionally, advanced filters quicken the process of gathering, managing and visualizing social media content. Interaction mechanics such as 'Flock-to-Unlock' enable producers to generate interest around exclusive content which is 'unlocked' by reaching a target. Audience scoring and a real-time on-air progress bar further drives audience engagement."
VSN NewsConnect is an NRCS web plugin integrated in the VSNExplorer suite. "VSN NewsConnect allows users to interconnect all the third-party systems necessary to create their choice of news production environment," says Toni Vilalta, VSN’s Product Manager. "It integrates into a single interface all the features of a state-of-the-art NRCS with access to all the benefits and functionalities of a modern MAM system like VSNExplorer MAM. "It is compatible with most NRCS available in the market as well as graphic systems, character generators, nonlinear editors, video servers and digital platforms. NewsConnect integrates perfectly with Windows and OSX environments and can also be implemented in the cloud, enhancing remote production and collaborative workflows. Independently of the NRCS, VSN NewsConnect can be used to prepare and manages content to be published on linear TV channels, non-linear platforms, social media and WebTV.
Users have access to the features of VSNExplorer MAM in the same interface, such as the ability to search files of any media in the MAM system, whether they are stored in deep archive, nearline or online. VSN NewsConnect users can also benefit from other VSNExplorer suite features, such as the Adobe plugin that allows integration with Premiere, After Effects and Audition, or access to Wedit, VSN’s fully web-based video editor."
x.news offers a software-based news and information monitoring tool which scans across news sites, social media feeds, video and internal archives, such as PDFs and email. Users can create the topics they want to monitor, set search and source parameters, and customize display preferences. x.news’ own database of information sources excludes known providers of fake news and misinformation. A mobile app version is also available. Features include AI-based analysis of emerging topics, collaboration between contributors around the globe and subscription-based premium news service. Content can be transferred from social media sources or ingested from URLs or WeTransfer files.
"x.news is a powerful AI based live story research tool that transforms the way journalists and users work by monitoring all the different sources (news agencies, social media sites, web and internal sources) on one screen," says CEO Andreas Pongratz. "x.news 3.0 enables searching within PDFs, internal IPTC/EXIF image libraries, emails and WhatsApp chats. A new feature, Summarizer, uses AI to search and summarise emerging topic related articles. We are also introducing a new B2B2C product, PNS (Personal News System)."