The Connected Newsroom: From Manual Processes to Mobile Workflows

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The following is the seventh in a series of 10 blog posts in “Interplay Innovations”, part two of Avid’s Interplay blog series. In this series, we’ll discuss how the recent developments in Interplay | Production 3.0 give modern workgroups the tools to overcome challenges in an era where media is created and consumed everywhere.

You are a reporter. You are on the road. You have new information on a story and your station’s evening news is about to go on air. It’s a really good line. You know it’s going to make a difference and it’s going to give your station a jump on the competition. Your crew also has some phenomenal shots and an interview that is sensational!

But … you do not have a mobile phone. In fact, you’ve never had a mobile phone because it is the late 1980s and the cost of a mobile phone is so high you could buy a small car for the same price, and the car would probably weigh less. And as for whether your crew has a satellite truck to send your pictures back to the station—get real!

So you’re forced to frantically walk through the rain soaked streets of some small town trying to find a telephone box and attempting to see if you have the right change to make the call. Then, eventually, you find the telephone box, but it doesn’t matter. You missed your deadline. The show is off air and now your viewers must wait another few hours for the next show before your breaking news can make it to air—but by then, it’s not breaking news anymore for the competition has just broadcast the story. You might as well drive all the way back to base and post your story then. Such frustration. Such annoyance. Such was the life of a reporter in those days. I know; I was a reporter back then.

Production Asset Management: The Connected Newsroom

Today’s journalists no longer have to be confined to a box in order to complete a story. Photo courtesy of Mostaque.

In our previous blog posts, we talked about how Avid MediaCentral | UX can transform the way our customers work—providing greater flexibility and extending the newsroom into the field in radical new ways. And it wasn’t too long ago that many of the workflows we now view as commonplace were complex and difficult to achieve.

Leap forward to the late 1990s and the early 2000s—reporters have mobiles and in fact, your station has its own truck. But it only has one truck, and that truck is covering another story. But at least the reporter can now phone in the story and someone else can take the call and type it into an iNEWS rundown so the story can get to air. Pity about those pictures though. And as for that killer interview? Well there is another broadcast in a few hours time that will feature your story. But there is this thing called the Internet. However, the guy who manages the show’s website is off today, and no one else knows how to work the complex bit of kit that he uses anyway. So the story gets to air, but it doesn’t make it online until that Internet guy is back in the office.

Production Asset Management: The Connected Newsroom

Craig Wilson, a member of the Avid Solutions Design Team, checks the latest stories on an iNEWS system in the United Kingdom while on location at Camps Bay, South Africa (left). In the city or country, the Avid MediaCentral | UX iOS app keeps reporters connected to their broadcasts so they can break stories directly from where the story is happening (right).

But what if when you were on the road, you could log into an iOS device, write a breaking news story straight into the iNEWS rundown, and then hit save so it automatically populates the prompter at the station and the anchor reads it on air in a matter of minutes. Pretty cool, right? With Avid MediaCentral | UX and iNEWS you can do this. Now.

And while you are doing that, your camera operator has cut the interview on his laptop, added a couple pictures and uploaded them straight into your production system back at the station via an Internet connection. With Media Composer or NewsCutter set up in a Media Composer | Cloud workflow, you can do this. Now.

Production Asset Management: The Connected Newsroom

Media Composer connected to a London-based workgroup via Media Composer | Cloud from a hotel in Cape Town, South Africa. The ability to playback remote media, add it to a sequence and also upload local media (shot on location) adds a new dimension to newsroom workflows. Video footage courtesy of Richard Bentley.

And while that story is uploading to the production system, you are posting your story to Twitter and Facebook, and uploading the video to a wide variety of online video producers such as YouTube or Vimeo. Oh and while you’re at it, you are also writing a special version of the story for your station’s website that includes the full interview because your camera operator has uploaded the rushes. With Media | Distribute, you can do this. Now.

No waiting, no telephone boxes, no looking around for change, no trucks, no missed deadlines, no delay. You are on air. You are beating the competition. You are breaking stories faster than ever. And Avid is keeping you there. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. On air. On your website. On social media.

Now that is what I call a connected newsroom. A newsroom that is no longer in a room. A newsroom that is everywhere. This is Avid Everywhere. With Interplay | Production 3.0, as we have highlighted in this blog series, we are revolutionizing newsroom and other workflows by connecting journalists with their producers and audiences with their programs in new and powerful ways.

With Interplay | Production 3.0, we are revolutionizing the newsroom workflows.

And as for me, I am no longer the reporter trying to get the story or the producer running the show. I am the consultant helping Avid’s customers deliver the best content to any platform faster and easier than ever before. I get less wet that way.

In the next Interplay Innovations post, learn how simple it is to use Interplay Central’s logging tools to add restrictions to clips, providing crucial information to producers, editors and other members of the workgroup.

As a member of the Avid’s EMEA Solutions Design Team I travel. A lot. The day job? Helping customers deliver new workflows enabled by Avid Everywhere and the Avid Media Central Platform.