Newsroom Systems

  • With David Kirk

Newsroom Systems

Contributing Editor David Kirk reports on the latest progress in newsroom systems in these challenging times...

The six months since InBroadcast last surveyed the Newsroom Systems sector has seen a continuing stream of new or augmented products and services. A key challenge for every broadcast news provider is to cater for the widest possible range of consumer content preferences, from fast-access text to in-depth television and radio documentaries. As in every aspect of modern publishing, success stems from accurate and impartial reporting, operational efficiency and attractive branding.

"AP's key focus for us this year is to support our customers’ transition to the hybrid newsroom," says product management director Brian Doyle. "We want to be able to give newsrooms the ability to collaborate, communicate and plan stories wherever they are in the world in a secure way." AP's browser-based Playbook is designed to help newsrooms with their editorial coverage planning as well as managing tasks and assignments. The Playbook app allows access from a mobile device. AP Cast, the second AP Storytelling module to be released, enables the curation of content sourced from Playbook which can then be published to external systems via customised API integrations. This can be used for generating email newsletters based on a newsroom’s coverage plans; sending ordered lists of content to a pagination system; moving content in bulk to a CMS, and so on.

Users add existing Playbook content to one or more publication lists, ordering the lists to represent how the content is to be published to the specified integrated system. Each list can be set to allow for daily publication and can support the publication of multiple editions or revisions on the same day. From within Cast, users can see the full context of Playbook topics and assignments and even make changes to the Playbook objects without having to switch back to the Playbook interface. Both systems run as a software as a cloud-hosted service with single sign-on authentication. Playbook users include the AP news team, Al Jazeera Digital and the Daily Mail Group.

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. ReporterApp is designed to provide the necessary security and tools reporters need to stay in contact with their newsrooms. Its UI provides the ability to need to research multiple sources including agency wire feeds, scan events and topics, check contact details and collaborate on content.

For radio-based news workflows CGI's dira! Dimension enables remote audio editing to take place outside of studio environments.

7Mountains' Dina Rundown is a standalone rundown tool for linear production. Intended for broadcasters wanting to transition from NRCS hardware to a lightweight cloud tool, it is designed to serve as a 1-1 replacement for any newsroom rundown application. Dina Rundown is based on Dina, a tool for planning, creating and publishing news to multiple channels and for breaking down the silos between the newsroom, the web desk and social media desk.

7Mountains describes Dina Rundown as a perfect match for broadcasters ready to move to multi-platform news production in the cloud.

Grass Valley’s AMPP platform allows news production teams to collaborate on stories from wherever they are located as well as create multiple versions of a story for live broadcast, social media, and OTT streaming. It supports NDI, SRT and other streaming protocols for contribution well as providing live production tools. As the video is being recorded, any journalist with an internet connection can access the file and begin editing using an HTML5 editor. AMPP’s Framelight X has MOS support for NRCS integration and allows the newsroom to create automated workflows, speeding up the editing process as well as distribution to multiple streaming platforms.

nxtedition’s newsroom system, itself called nxtedition, streamlines and 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. In a single software environment, it provides the tools journalists need to plan and script their stories as well as media management, rundown creation, studio automation, graphics, ingest and final channel playout functionality. Because it is 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 - not rooted in linear television - 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. Fresh off the production line comes iReporter, with 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. Adapting to the remote and hybrid workforce while allowing production from locations never thought possible, you need a powerful way to communicate and coordinate with your teams. You can’t afford to slack when it comes to organization, and that’s why KO:R was created. This system is a multi-faceted approach to collaboration, bringing all the tools to one shared location. Using all-inclusive tools with feedback from our global clients, we custom-tailored this process to the demands of customers and real-time needs."  

Qvest has powered the Mediacorp newsroom to a higher level of performance by installing a cloud-native video editing solution. "News video editors at Singapore’s national media network and largest content creator can now work faster and more flexibly without compromising data security or user experience," says Qvest CTO Thomas Müller.

"New virtual editing suites also pave the way for Mediacorp to implement more efficient, collaborative, and remote workflows at Channel News Asia (CNA). Central cloud management via the qibb integration platform enables access to fully integrated and location-independent, predefined programs and functions, such as Adobe Premiere Pro." Supporting services allow all members of the editing team to collaborate efficiently and remotely in an identical production environment.

CNA journalists’ cloud workstations are available automatically at the start of their workday based on the scheduling system which can be scaled up as needed for different days of the week.

The Ultrix FR12, 12G ready is Ross Video’s new, game-changing version of its award-winning Ultrix Router. This is the ultimate routing, multiviewer and signal processing platform for studios, OB vans and flypacks. As a true software defined platform customers immediately enjoy significant cost, space, and power efficiencies with unparalleled flexibility and agility, especially relative to competitive hybrid routers.

Todd Riggs, Director of Product Management for Hyperconverged Solutions says, “In the past, a traditional system could use around 500 rack units.  Now with the FR12, you’re looking at only 14 rack units for the equivalent solution. That’s over 500 less rack units and freed up space for your business to grow. Less hardware also means less power consumption, so while a typical system could consume 52,300 Watts, the FR12 equivalent system would only consume 2,400 Watts. Less hardware also means far less cabling - hundreds instead of thousands - and significantly less weight as the FR12 tips the scales around 100 lbs or 45 kg as opposed to a traditional system’s massive 6284 lbs or 2850 kg!”.

The FR12 is the world’s only router with an integrated production switcher, customers can build entire infrastructures with ground-breaking flexibility, performance, and integration. Its appealing smart door, that's an LCD display, is designed to help with monitoring systems, troubleshooting, configuring, and control via a high-resolution, full size touchscreen panel. 

The FR12 is powerful too, boasting up to 288 x 288 SDI ports with a 6144 x 6144 TDM audio fabric, up to 288 frame syncs, 288 clean quiet switches and up to 48 x 100 PIP multiviewers. It also has up to 8 SDPE blades that can be configured as a single 8ME Ross Acuity switcher, 8 independent Ross Carbonites or even a 4ME Acuity and 4 independent Carbonites. In short, the routing, processing, and switching capability in the FR12 is very hard to beat.

“The award-winning Ultrix platform just got bigger, smarter, and more powerful as the FR12’s compact frame packs a massive punch with significantly more capacity, functionality and innovation.” adds Riggs. 

VSN describes its NewsConnect as a web plugin that allows NRCS to create their news production environment with complete freedom of choice, accessing all the journalist's tools from a single user interface.

“NewsConnect is a flexible system offering 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," says Product Manager Toni Vilalta. NewsConnect is claimed to be compatible with most NRCS available in the market as well as graphic systems, character generators, nonlinear editors, video servers and digital platforms. Compatible with Windows and OSX, it gives users access to the features of VSNExplorer MAM in the same interface, such as the ability to search files from deep archive, nearline or online. An Adobe plugin that allows integration with Premiere, After Effects and Audition, or access to VSN's Wedit web-based video editor.