Industry Insights: What will the newsroom of tomorrow be like?
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Broadcast production vendors recently participated in an Industry Insights roundtable discussion on newsroom technology, looking at the current pain points and where the tech stack will help in the future.
The roundtable participants envisioned a newsroom of the future that is adaptable, diverse and more data-driven, with a focus on automation, collaboration, and integrated AI services. The workflow of the future will be streamlined, highly integrated, consolidated and agile, with greater emphasis on automation and collaboration.
What is the biggest pain point in the newsroom today?
Luis Fernandez, senior product marketing manager, Dalet: Newsrooms of all sizes will continue to face the challenge of catering to a wide and dispersed audience across various digital and broadcast platforms. Each platform, and their unique audiences, have different expectations and ways to understand the story, which makes it difficult for newsrooms to plan, produce and distribute stories effectively and efficiently.
Miro Rusko, managing director APAC, Octopus Newsroom: I see two verticals, speed – where the professional newsrooms aim to deliver speedy and verified information competing with opportunistic social media accounts seeking exposure thus publishing information without verification. Second is the IT cyber-security policies, which are in some cases obstructing the concept of working from anywhere.
Craig Wilson, product evangelist in broadcast and media enterprise, Avid: One of the biggest pain points for news organizations is ensuring effective collaboration between teams to efficiently produce and deliver compelling content across multiple platforms. Of course, another pain point is the usual resistance to change from editorial teams to adapting to new workflows and technologies.
Adam Leah, creative director, Nxtedition: One of the main challenges that newsrooms are currently facing is the use of outdated software, complicated workflows, and a shortage of skilled professionals. The tendency to rely on traditional methods and resist change can impede the newsgathering process and make it difficult to keep up with changing trends. However, by embracing new technologies and letting go of old habits, newsrooms can overcome these challenges and adapt to the current demands of the industry.
Ionut “Johnny” Pogacean, senior product manager, Vizrt: Some of the most significant pain points are the monetization of content, the ability to produce and deliver multi-platform stories with speed, and the balance of retaining brand identity while trying to match the “language” of the platform they are published to.
Jenn Jarvis, product manager, Ross Video: Visibility of information – whether that is information on what stories are in progress or information from a source. With newsrooms producing more content than ever before and from more locations, lack of visibility is what leads to redundant efforts, mistakes and general frustration.
How are cloud-based tools helping the newsroom?
Luis Fernandez: Cloud-based tools enable newsrooms to transcend physical boundaries and be accessible from any location. With cloud-native solutions like Dalet Pyramid, news professionals can access the same technology inside and outside the newsroom with ease and familiarity. This seamless hand off helps journalists break the news faster, work more collaboratively, and access all assets, communication and production tools from wherever the action occurs.
Gianluca Bertuzzi, sales manager for Africa and Latin America, Octopus Newsroom: Cloud-based tools are helping the newsroom by providing efficient and cost-effective ways to store, share, and access large amounts of data and multimedia content. They also enable remote collaboration and streamline the workflow.
Craig Wilson: Cloud-based tools are enabling collaboration, whether it’s working from the field or from other remote offices. These tools also enable access to integrated AI services to supplement technical metadata and assist in the editorial process.
Adam Leah: There is some nuance to the definition of cloud technology, as it can refer to both public cloud and private cloud servers on-premise. I understand that as “cloudflation” affects the cost of cloud services, many in the industry are considering alternatives to mitigate these expenses. However, it’s important to remember that the focus should be on the technology itself and how it can benefit newsrooms, rather than the physical location of the servers.
Johnny Pogacean: There is some degree of familiarity with working with web tools that makes things easier and more approachable. It is vital for today’s journalists to go live from anywhere, and cloud tools allow the journalist to be as close to the story as possible without having to “remote” in on-prem resources. In addition to that, another benefit is the quick updates that SaaS providers offer.
Jenn Jarvis: Centralizing information and collaboration in a single tool or set of tools is changing the way newsrooms work. And putting those tools in the cloud creates a consistent and cohesive workflow regardless of location. Journalists have always had to work on the go, but we’ve only recently gotten to a point where a remote workflow mirrors the same experience as working in the newsroom.
Are newsrooms equipped to handle the myriad of content needed today?
Luis Fernandez: Some newsrooms are more equipped than others, but the truth is, with time, keeping up with the large variety of content will become more and more needed. The role of AI in this matter is critical; how can newsrooms generate all the metadata required for discoverability, repurposing, distribution, and archive? In conjunction with collaboration between different locations and broadcast & digital teams, this is the second most mentioned concern.
Bob Caniglia, director of sales operations in the Americas, Blackmagic Design: To keep up with the large demand for content across a variety of platforms, ranging from long-form video to social media snippets, newsrooms need to invest in flexible, all-in-one tools that support all types of content production needs, while also simplifying workflows.
Gianluca Bertuzzi: Newsrooms are equipped to handle a multitude of content, but it can still be a challenge to keep up with the demand for multimedia and interactive content, as well as ensuring that all content meets the high standards for accuracy and impartiality.
Craig Wilson: There is a big demand to quickly produce a lot of quality content while tailoring and rapidly delivering it to different platforms. Today most newsrooms can either produce good content or can produce it quickly, and often need to find a compromise – such as a combination of skills training for staff and tools which can deliver content to any platform are needed.
Adam Leah: Not very many newsrooms are equipped to handle the plethora of content and platforms required in today’s fast-paced news environment, they are too linear led. The demands for content across different platforms and formats are constantly changing and traditional newsroom installations are struggling to keep up with the pace. The lack of agile workflows, and modern technologies, along with the industry-wide skills shortage, only exacerbates this issue.
Johnny Pogacean: While most cope well with gathering content, what happens after it varies significantly depending on the size of the newsroom and resources. It’s not uncommon for broadcasters to simply clip their on-air content and publish that, but that means compromising on quality. Increasingly distributed newsrooms and audiences wanting news on-demand on their preferred platforms are prompting newsrooms to adopt a story-first approach. The term story-centric is used a lot in our industry for workflows that are organized around the story, but how that looks in practice varies greatly.
Jenn Jarvis: Some more than others. The larger organizations are investing the time and energy into analyzing and building multi-platform workflows while smaller newsrooms are often struggling to create the same content without the integrated tools. The biggest challenge for all is the rate at which the content strategies and publishing platforms are changing.
What does the newsroom of the future look like?
Luis Fernandez: Newsrooms will get more complex with time, as new social and digital media outlets emerge and methods for reaching audiences and telling stories evolve. Newsrooms are already evolving from the linear model, focused on broadcast, and developing a more story-centric approach powered by new tools, workflows, and resources with specialized skills.
Bob Caniglia: The newsroom of the future will be adaptable and supported by powerful, hybrid technology, but most importantly, it will be diverse as professional technology is no longer reserved for the big broadcasters. With the continued adoption of accessible virtual technologies and cloud tools, creators will collaborate from anywhere in the world and will be unconstrained by one fixed studio or location.
Gianluca Bertuzzi: The newsroom of the future is likely to be more data-driven and technology-focused, with an emphasis on automation and collaboration. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is likely to increase, allowing journalists to focus on more in-depth reporting and storytelling.
Craig Wilson: The newsroom of the future provides a creative story centric approach to writing and content creation, while enabling access to material regardless of its location. This newsroom will require integrated collaboration tools for planning, creating, tracking and distributing content to multiple platforms, and integrated AI services to aid journalists and editorial teams with their work.
Adam Leah: The future requires us to be more pragmatic and forward-thinking. If we use the new technologies in the same way we used the old technology we will never release their full potential. Then there is all the AI stuff which is great for transcription, translation subtitling and indexing content but there may be moral and political issues around facial recognition and synthetic media; it’s technologically achievable, but is it moral? That’s going to be an interesting future debate.
Johnny Pogacean: AI (for better or worse) will revolutionize how content is created, processed, distributed and consumed. As journalists become more multi-disciplined, they are expected to do a lot more. The tools journalists use have to evolve to match their needs as complexity is just moved and managed differently; it doesn’t disappear. Efficiency and accessibility will become even more critical in the future.
Jenn Jarvis: What’s exciting to me about the next generation of journalists is their general comfort level with technology and the rate at which technology can change. They are well positioned to adapt as delivery platforms and audience consumption changes. I think we’re going to see responsive newsrooms that are willing to experiment with new approaches and content formats.
What does the newsroom workflow of the future look like?
Luis Fernandez: The newsroom workflow of the future will be hybrid, orchestrated, and intelligent, as the need and context in which newsrooms operate continue to evolve. Teams will need to be able to work collaboratively and effectively regardless of the consumption platform or the work location, and their workflows will need to be able to visualize, manage, assign, communicate, media edit, and distribute stories fast to different audiences on different platforms and be able to make a real impact.
Bob Caniglia: The newsroom workflow of the future will be streamlined as today’s integrated and collaborative technologies empower creators to do more with less. Talent from all over the world will be able to create and share content in real time with their colleagues and newsrooms, contributing a diverse range of ideas and content.
Gianluca Bertuzzi: The newsroom workflow of the future is likely to be more streamlined, with a greater focus on collaboration and the use of technology to automate routine tasks. This will free up journalists to focus on more strategic and creative work.
Adam Leah: An exciting development we’re working on is story versioning. With the need to cater to different age groups and various social media platforms, the ability to fork a story using ML into multiple versions is a crucial asset. Another key requirement will be speed, speed is of the essence in breaking the news to the audience. To accomplish this, a highly integrated, consolidated, and agile workflow will be a necessity, thereby ensuring a seamless journey for the story from ideation to the viewer. Both points will need a technological step change in the newsroom.
Johnny Pogacean: I expect that content will become more interactive and highly individualized. Imagine content being augmented and enhanced by AI, users will choose their preferred style, choose the amount of graphics they’ll see in a story. I also suspect that services like we’ve seen in the last few months with ChatGPT will become ubiquitous and they will be leveraged to deliver content in a highly individualized manner, and provide the necessary context in a way that is more approachable and understandable to each individual, without the newsroom having to generate it all.
Jenn Jarvis: We’re already seeing investment priorities shift to things like planning tools, asset management and analytics. The workflow of the future is going to be ecosystems where these tools are connected and cohesive. Many of the manual workflows we have today will be automated, but visibility of content and data will play important roles and how those automated workflows are built.
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Adam Leah, avid, Blackmagic Design, Bob Caniglia, Craig Wilson, Dalet, Gianluca Bertuzzi, Ionut Johnny Pogacean, Jenn Jarvis, Luis Fernandez, newsroom, Newsroom Solutions, nxtedition, Octopus, Octopus Newsroom, Ross Video, Vizrt
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