NRCS – just breaking down this acronym starts to highlight some of the problems faced by traditional or legacy news solutions when addressing contemporary newsgathering and consumer habits. ‘Room’ implies containment and isolation, ‘computer’ conjures images of large desktop PCs, and in this context you may as well replace ‘system’ with ‘silo.’
With so many platforms and outlets competing for consumer attention, commanding and retaining an audience today requires effectiveness, efficiency and excellence – all three of which are far more achievable with a unified approach.
Unified News Operations, or UNO, takes all the traditional functions of an NRCS, NPS (news production system), MAM (media asset management) and more, and, by combining them into a modular, scalable platform, presents significant and distinct advantages to whole news organisations, from journalists to system administrators.
UNOs enable the implementation of efficient workflow to produce news content from planning down to distribution on multiple outlets. Web and social media are not treated as an afterthought or a separate workflow, but as a core function of the news process. Stories can be researched and prepared efficiently with direct access to social feeds before being quickly packaged to fit the various constraints of specific outlets and distribution platforms.
Metadata continuity from planning elements, rushes and b-roll to completed stories, programmes and archives links content and search from top to bottom enables more effective and creative work for the editorial teams who can make better use of the assets in the news system. It means they easily find and discover all kinds of related content and visualise the relationships between them, and know if they have the rights to use them.
A BPM-based workflow orchestration engine deployed in news workflows allows journalists and editors to focus on first-class content. The smart automation manages all the ‘heavy lifting’ of the media movement and native manipulation and processing. Meanwhile, by bonding them in a common platform, native bi-directional communications between rundown and playout gives full collaboration and synchronisation between the newsroom and the gallery – allowing for a far more dynamic and transparent production.
Journalists in the field may have access to the newsroom system from their smartphones through a dedicated app, but what's the point if they have only the rundown or the story script, but no access to the media files? Worse still if they have to use separate apps or interfaces to access each element. Unified News Operations provide apps and interfaces that give secure access to all applicable assets and related content.
Each integration point between core operational systems such as NRCS, NPS and MAM is a potential pain point not just in initial deployment, but also for ongoing maintenance and scaling. A unified system, based on a common platform, can lead to faster deployment and simplified maintenance.
However, ‘unified’ doesn’t mean ‘closed system’ or even ‘single vendor.’ Unified News Operations place the functions that naturally belong together in a united platform and extend these with native support for common exchange and communication protocols, plus a powerful API to build best-of-breed solutions.
By Kevin Savina, director of product strategy, Dalet Digital Media Systems