Allowing journalists freedom in an increasingly restricted world

In an age where press freedom is declining, news broadcasters increasingly need their field journalists to be able to create stories without further constraints, and that starts with friction-less technology, argues Stuart Almond.

Technology changes journalism

As history tells us, technology changes journalism. In the nineteenth century, for example, the introduction of the telegraph allowed newspaper publishers to gather and send information faster than had previously been possible.

Fast forward 150 years and it is the internet and mobile technology that is changing journalism again, particularly broadcast news.

Smartphones and laptops and ever-increasing bandwidth make it possible to find, capture, compile, edit and file or transmit stories from almost anywhere in the world.

This trend is not only transformative it is also extremely important.

Declining press freedom

According to the 2017 Freedom of the Press report, published by Freedom House, global press freedom declined to its lowest point in 13 years in 2016.

The report states that around the world there are “unprecedented threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies and new moves by authoritarian states to control the media, including beyond their borders.”

According to the same report, only 13 per cent of the world’s population enjoys a free press, a media environment where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures.

Faced with these kind of editorial constraints, therefore, it becomes ever more crucial that the technology used by news organisations is frictionless.

Enabling technology

Journalists out in the field need to be able to report without technological restraints: this means cameras or smartphones that are easy to use, microphones that record without interruption and editing tools that can be used anywhere.

The latter is especially important. A journalist does not want to be tied to a desk. This is where a news production system like Media Backbone Hive can be so crucial.

Captured video content in any format is intelligently routed wherever it’s needed, with proxies instantly available to all users. 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.

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