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Mon 27 Jul 2009 04:00 AM

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Newsworthy solutions

Newsroom systems are rapidly evolving in response to the increasing demands of broadcasters who want to move from traditional methods of news dissemination to navigating new and interactive media platforms. Digital Studio takes a look at some of the popular newsroom systems in the market today.

Newsworthy solutions
Newsworthy solutions
Broadcasters are looking to repurpose their content for different media.

Newsroom systems are rapidly evolving in response to the increasing demands of broadcasters who want to move from traditional methods of news dissemination to navigating new and interactive media platforms. Digital Studio takes a look at some of the popular newsroom systems in the market today.

The definition of what constitutes a broadcaster has undergone rapid and dramatic changes as new and more interactive media platforms enter the traditional broadcasting space. With more news broadcasters and print media repurposing their content to distribute to varying media platforms while also mulling simultaneous diversification into e-commerce and merchandising, technology suppliers face the challenge of sustaining and enabling increasingly diverse production requirements.

Whatever the origins of a media organisation as they navigate the constantly-changing multiplatform world, most today are likely to re-purpose content from one output to suit another. Alternatively, they may develop subject silos such as news, sport or business, where all stories of a given theme are researched in one part of the organisation and then repurposed for each separate platform. These are just two potential models, but both are facilitated by object-based workflows where sites can easily marry their textual metadata with the media asset as it is created.

In the meantime, the role of the traditional journalist has also undergone dramatic change. Today's TV journalists often double up as cameramen and field editors to ensure their stories go to air faster.

In addition, the journalists in the field who were traditionally relatively isolated from the news room or who depended on telephone contact now demand mobile access to as much of the newsroom-based production process as possible.

Even at the desk, there is a need for old footages and files to be accessed instantly and the more efficiently a system can make this available at the end user's fingertips with low-res editing in tow, the easier it will be for the broadcaster to maintain a competitive edge over its counterparts.

To take a recent example, when Michael Jackson passed away, most editors must have been at their desks, quickly looking through old footages or scenes from the late popstar's albums that they could possibly play.

Modern newsroom systems must provide user-friendly and story-centric workflows that empower the journalist and the editor to quickly send stories to air, whether breaking news or old footage that needs to be accessed, edited and broadcast. They must be systems that make creation and editing easier and provide powerful tools to search, sort, categorise, filter and bookmark text and media information.

More importantly, a significant number of broadcasters are now looking at open platforms that can permit n number of integrations with either their IT infrastructure, ERP systems or even with their production environments.

In this article, we look at some of the most popular newsroom solutions in the market including Associated Press' ENPS, Avid iNews, Annova, Evoxe and Octopus.

Each of these manufacturers will be at IBC 2009 with new features that address the evolving needs of today's newsrooms.

AP ENPS

ENPS is thought to have the biggest newsroom computer system (NRCS) footprint globally and is hugely popular in the Middle East. Since its first system was installed at ERTU, Cairo, in 2001, more than 35 newsrooms and 2000 users in the region now use ENPS, integrated with a variety of different third party graphics, automation and video server systems.

At IBC 2009, AP will be showcasing the ‘Digital Publishing Engine', the first module of the version 7 family. The DPE will enhance productivity by enabling users to get multimedia content on air, online, and to mobile devices using a single, simple workflow. Dynamic feedback from a public website will automatically flow back into ENPS so producers can easily see which stories are getting the most attention.

AP will also be demonstrating all the latest features in version 6 and its newly enhanced ENPS Mobile suite. Journalists can work remotely on laptops, PDAs and mobile phones to browse agency wires, consult running orders and read and write stories, taking the newsroom to the story.

In addition, ENPS will be installed on over 20 leading broadcast technology manufacturers' stands, demonstrating the most efficiently integrated news workflows in the market.

Associated Press also recently won a patent for a method of "automatic selection of encoding parameters for transmission of media objects", an underpinning technology fundamental to AP's SNAPfeed application for field reporting. SNAPfeed is an add-on to the ENPS system. www.enps.com

Avid iNewsThe Avid iNEWS newsroom computer systems provides journalists with all the tools necessary to plan, create, publish and archive a news broadcast. Scalable from ten to thousands of users working across multiple sites, the iNEWS brings together the newsroom system, editing systems and playout applications in a unified production environment.

Everything takes place at the desktop, from capturing wires and other data feeds and ordering rundowns to integration with playback control systems and production devices for precise control at air time. News professionals and managers are keyed directly into the iNEWS system from their desktops for all news activities.

It adds support for the new journalist tool, Avid iNEWS Instinct, a product that provides visual storytelling capabilities to journalists at the desktop in a familiar script-based format.

The Avid iNEWS Web Client is a browser-based, simplified front-end to the NRCS that allows journalists to create and modify stories quickly from any location. The Web Client runs in a standard web browser and can be launched from a workstation anywhere -satellite office, truck, airport or even WiFi hotspots. Users stay plugged in to critical iNEWS functionality, including access to stories, messaging and simple searches, irrespective of where they are. iNEWS NRCS moves the story from wire to air with unmatched accuracy, reliability, and control.

Key features

• Newscast accuracy

iNEWS offers the ability to create the content, timing and accuracy of news broadcasts quickly and reliably, and to manage news rundowns with ease and flexibility.

• Contribution from the field

With iNEWS Data Receiver's ability to ingest text strings from anywhere - even a journalist's PDA at a faraway courthouse - newsgathering becomes a connected, collaborative breeze. And with the new iNEWS Web Client browser-based interface, reporters logged in from remote breaking news sites can tell their stories as if they were sitting at their own desktop in the station.

• Comprehensive newsgathering

The Data Receiver allows the NRCS to collect information from diverse sources, including serial wire feeds, telnet, email, and network shares.

• Rundown Mirroring

Higher availability, instant monitoring and usage of rundowns from any location mean even more reliable broadcasts.

Share across departments, share across stations

The new iNEWS community feature allows station groups and networks to share content and collaborate on stories. A user can view, edit, and search for content stored on any of their iNEWS systems from a single instance of the iNEWS Client, making better use of their organization's content and resources. www.avid.com ANNOVA SYSTEMS

German company, ANNOVA Systems, is the developer of OpenMedia, a news management system. ANNOVA, which was formerly part of Dalet, has several newsroom installations in different parts of the Middle East and is currently involved in a major upgrade for a broadcaster in the region.

ANNOVA showcased two variations of its new OpenMedia Version 3.6, including the Open MEDIABOX aimed at midmarket users and a configurable enterprise version at NAB recently. The preconfigured midmarket version provides users with a turnkey solution. The enterprise-level variation of OpenMedia Version 3.6 now features an enhanced planning container to track plan of news items. It also provides improvements in sharing data and media across multiple production units, such as radio, TV or Web departments.

Key features

• Cross media planning and multicast-Create, schedule and distribute content to TV, radio, internet, mobile and more

• Powerful search - fast results on multiple, complex searches. Effective use of the rich metadata management

• Container model - Link different media and metadata to a story container for better organisation and planning.

• Paperless gallery - Customised screen views for control rooms. See and control current and upcoming events, reduce errors and clutter.

• OpenMedia EVENT CALENDAR - Manage events from various sources with easy-to-use filters in configurable calendar overviews.

• OpenMedia CONNECT & WEBCLIENT - View and exchange materials between different OM systems. WebClient allows remote access to browse data and create documents.

• Multi-language - Full Unicode support, multi-language wires, left to right or right to left text.

• StoryBin - empowers journalist and editors to systematically link all scripts, assets and resources relative to a specific story, Ensure consistent tracking of allocated resources and produced outputs.

• OpenMedia 4MORE - independent video management module for OpenMedia, based on S4M Video Production Management System (VPMS) and offering professional ingest, editing, and playout capabilities www.annova.de

EVOXE

Dutch company Evoxe is focused on delivering optimum workflows for each of the operators in a newsroom environment - including the schedule manager, researcher, news editor, journalist, playout director and archivist.

NIS4 is Evoxe's integrated family of fourth generation newsroom computer systems, operating on either Linux or Windows OS and using off-the-shelf standard IT hardware.

These solutions are already installed and in 24x7 operation in customer newsrooms, providing all the tools for cross-platform news production for television, radio, web, teletext and text TV. At IBC2009, Evoxe will launch NIS4-Lite - a cost-effective entry level newsroom computer system for up to 25 users. Designed to be an ‘out-of-the-box' solution, this product is easy to install and configure, yet still provides all the core functionality of the higher NIS4 family.

This solution is offered as a complete central hardware, software and training services package. For medium and large newsrooms, the NIS4-Pro and NIS4-Enterprise products are scalable from 25 to almost unlimited users. Including multiple MOS interfaces and integration to multiple third party systems, these NIS4 solutions deliver all the functionality demanded in a modern newsroom. www.evoxe.nl

Octopus

OCTOPUS highlighted version 6 of its newsroom computer system at NAB and Broadcast Asia.

Key features

• This is a cross-platform NRCS running natively on Windows, MacOS and Linux. OS independence is brought to client machines as well as all OCTOPUS6 servers.

• OCTOPUS6 FCP plug-in for FCP is the first of a set of plug-ins for different standalone NLEs. The plug-in allows the newsroom to integrate FCP into the workflow.

• Fully customisable GUI, with single tap search, fulltext search and global search; quick access to frequently used items and automatic save of settings.

• Word blacklist permits a list of inappropriate words to be loaded into the dictionary.

• A list of media with or without thumbnails enables the user to preview the media file instantly without having to open a new window

• Rundown Buddy and centralised updates. www.octopus-news.com

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