News production: Why collaboration is key

In order to make a news operation story-centric, shared content must be available 24/7 and accessible from anywhere, argues Stuart Almond.

For a TV news broadcaster, and in fact any journalist or news-producing outlet, there are certain pillars on which their craft is based: truth and accuracy; independence; fairness and impartiality; humanity; and accountability.

Without these bedrocks, the viewers, readers and listeners will not trust a news item, however well it is written or presented.

But ask a news editor what else is important and chances are that he or she will say ‘time’. There is never enough of it as there is always a deadline looming.

Before the advent of the internet, deadlines made the news world go round. Now, in the 24/7 world of live blogging, social media, UGC et al, every minute of every day is a deadline. And that brings its own challenges – like how to do all those things at once, with the same amount of people, and be first with the story.

The 360-degree view

One thing that certainly helps (unless money is no object) is a 360-degree view of the news production operation.
If a story is to be covered efficiently across TV, radio and online by the same news outlet, the ability for all journalists, editors and producers to work together as a team is crucial.

Rather than work in silos, by collaborating and sharing content, the story can be placed firmly at the centre of the operation – making time an ally rather than an enemy.

But what happens when a news team is spread widely across a city, a country, a continent or even around the globe? Can a story-centric approach to news production still be applied?

The answer is yes but only if the news production system at the heart of the operation provides access to shared content 24/7 from anywhere. Unfortunately, not all news production systems do that.

Different stories for different platforms

Some news production systems do not allow multiple users to create different stories for different platforms using the same content. Some don’t provide universal access to content in different locations, on and off site. Some even make it impossible to access the correct tools at the right time.

Once material has been ingested, it is available (and usable) immediately, for all team members, including mobile journalists and field-based reporters.

Captured video content in any format is intelligently routed wherever it’s needed, with proxies instantly accessible by all users. The newsroom systems are continually updated, linking metadata to news content. Journalists can quickly search the entire newsroom system to find what they need, either archived content or material arriving right at that moment…or even still located in the cameras in the field!

Different people can also have access to different tools, all within the same system. So field journalists can work on a browser-based editing application while craft editors can use Adobe Premiere to fine-tune a package.

Media Backbone Hive: Flexible and Agile

Hive’s web-based proxy toolsets make it quick and easy to search and use content. Other systems, those based on high-resolution files, are not so flexible.

But just because Hive uses proxies doesn’t mean it is low quality. That is a misconception. The Hive bit rate is sometimes higher than customers’ broadcast bit rate.

Hive is also file format agnostic so journalists and camera operators can capture content on any device – from a smart phone to an ENG camera – and the footage can simply be dropped onto an editing timeline. No ingest. No transcoding.

This flexibility completely changes the news production operation. Users throughout the organisation can use the same assets, at the same time, for all of their output, making different packages for different platforms, audiences, languages, geographies and more.

Flexible and agile, Hive enables improved productivity and reduces duplication of work by repurposing content without the need for repackaging.
Why is collaboration key? It puts the story back at the heart of the news operation.

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