News - A New Beginning


Kieron Seth# TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Kieron Seth
Issue 96 - December 2014

As voting ended, political analysts eagerly awaited the result from the Rochester and Stroud by-election. Commentators expected a dramatic shift in the Westminster landscape and with it the overturning of the political status quo stretching back 100 years.

Yet the headlines that evening were nothing to do with the main contenders in the election. A Twitter row stole the show, a single photo uploaded with a few bland words made it to the top of the news on TV and radio and made the front pages the next morning. A little known and relatively unimportant politician’s career was curtailed while the long-awaited result of a critical by-election, which should have been the focus of journalists’ attention, was side-lined.

Why did this happen? Because a Twitter trend indicated what audiences were most interested in and the news media reacted.

Out with the Old

Traditional models of how the news media selects and gives importance to particular stories seem to have broken down. Journalists and editors used to be guided by perceived economic impact, the global significance, the extent to which the protagonists are publicly known and the geographical proximity of the story to the audience in question. On the face of it, this story, involving an unknown shadow minister, a political party with no chance of success in the election and the uploading of a photo of a house, was hardly newsworthy.

This tale of MP Emily Thornberry started on Twitter, with Facebook coming to life soon after. For news organizations, it’s a disarming occurrence. Their own reporters, trusted sources, Westminster moles and regular news feeds could only look on as news, comment, discussion and debate broke out all round them, with Twitter users setting their own agenda.

Tracking Social Media

For news automation specialist, Octopus Newsroom, tracking trends on social media is now vital for news journalists.

“Twitter trends are an invaluable temperature gauge, a clear guide to what’s grabbing the public’s attention at any particular moment. With the analytical tools we build into our software, journalists can now monitor not just what are the hot issues, but how popular a particular subject is over time. A topic that’s not in the top ten trends, but is continually cropping up on Twitter clearly has lasting appeal and may still be newsworthy.” Notes Gabriel Janko Sales Director of Octopus Newsroom.

21st Century Sources The so-called vox populi is increasingly loud. The smartphone phenomena makes potential citizen journalists of us all. Horrors inflicted in civil wars, police brutality on urban streets, celebrity misdemeanours it’s all captured in video, shared in Tweets and posted online within seconds. These first hand reports, unverified and lacking authority in the traditional sense, are the authentic voice that now secures news airtime. Alarming though this may be to students of the art of objective, accurate and impartial news reporting, this undoubtedly opens up some exciting possibilities for news broadcasters.

The Great Leveller

Once, journalists were reliant on official spokesmen, trusted sources, correspondents in the field and news agencies for their content. As the cost of sending reporters to the location of every story is prohibitive, it has always been the judgment of the editor where to focus the channel’s finite resources. As a result, news channels have relied on the same sources for many of their stories: effectively news has been mirrored across different competing networks. Now, social media is the broadcasters’ chance to give a unique angle, to voice original viewpoints and allow new perspectives to be aired. There is a risk: how news broadcasters will adapt to the use of unverified sources is an open question. However, one thing is clear: there is no longer any excuse for me-too reporting.

The Commercial Battle
This has real implication in the TV news ratings battle. For many years, inter-channel rivalry has been intense: if audience figures fall, presenters are dropped; if a competitor gains the upper hand, it’s usually time for a graphics refresh. Whether it’s to hold the attention of viewers for the sake of delivering audiences for advertisers or to stop channel hoppers giving market share to a competitive channel, news programmes increasingly have to give people what they want. This may not always be what the news editor thinks audiences should want to hear.

Twitter analysis integrated into the newsroom system itself is the new phenomenon that is making a real difference in the battle for news supremacy. Using an advanced newsroom computer system, the news team can begin to interact with a number of leading social networks at the same time, centralizing trend analysis and co-ordinating the process of uploading Tweets, Google+ and Facebook posts. The news editor gains the ability to engage with the audience prior to, during and after a news slot. This interaction means that news can be shaped to take into consideration the viewpoint of the public.

As well as tracking viewer interest, the channel can build relationships with viewers that can help cement and even grow audience share. “Trailing an upcoming item, previewing an exclusive interview or announcing that viewers should tune in for breaking news this is what social media is especially good at. Because today’s audiences are so thirsty for news, we have now built into the Octopus system the ability for journalists to cut short video clips and post them to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter direct from our newsroom software. Broadcasters can reach out to their audience anytime, anywhere.” Concludes David Couto, the Octopus Marketing Manager.


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Contributing Author Kieron Seth#

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Contributing Author Joe Walsh Click to read or download PDF
The shining star of Dancing On Ice
Rod Aaron Gammons Lighting is an incredibly important part of any TV production, and it can make a huge difference to what is seen on-screen. If the right lights are used in the right way, it can create a mood, set a tone and convey a certain atmosphere.
Tags: iss130 | rotolight | led lighting | anova pro 2 | chris yacoubian | Rod Aaron Gammons
Contributing Author Rod Aaron Gammons Click to read or download PDF
VR and the importance of tracking
KitPlus I would like to begin this article by clarifying what we at Shotoku mean when we talk about VR in live production. It’s not the production of immersive, 360 content where you need to wear a headset; we are talking about virtual studio (VS) and augmented reality (AR) work, such as placing graphics into a green screen environment or physical set. The technology used for this work is entirely different, though equally specialist – therefore it is important to understand the challenges of this kind of production in order to make informed kit choices.
Tags: iss130 | shotoku | vr | live production | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
Technological advances in the broadcast industry
Alan Wheable Since it is Omnitek’s 20th anniversary this year, I thought it would be interesting to look back over the technological advances in the broadcast industry over the last few decades and look at the similarities between then and now.
Tags: iss130 | omnitek | test and measurement | smpte 2110 | untra tq | 2022 | sdi 2022-6 | Alan Wheable
Contributing Author Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
Out of the box: Sennheiser Ambeo VR microphone
Jon Pratchett 2 The use of 360 video, especially on platforms like Facebook and YouTube is really starting to take off. Gone are the days when you needed to buy multiple GoPros and rigs in order to get something decent looking. Now players like Insta360 and even GoPro with their fusion 360 camera are providing single camera, high quality solutions, enabling the masses to put out reasonable quality, certainly watchable, 360 video.
Tags: iss130 | vr | virtual reality | audio | ambiosonic | Jon Pratchett 2
Contributing Author Jon Pratchett 2 Click to read or download PDF
Six steps for award winning sound design with Jungle Studios
Chris Turner Few can argue that great sound design is one of the most important elements to any moving picture. Mute most horrors, and the difference in fear factor will be enormous. Visualize Jaws or Star Wars, and John Williams’s iconic score will instantly come to mind.
Tags: iss130 | jungle studios | fairlight | blackmagic design | davinci | Chris Turner
Contributing Author Chris Turner Click to read or download PDF
How IP-based KVM can improve workflow in broadcast control rooms
John Halksworth One of the most significant shifts the broadcast industry has seen over recent years is the adoption of IP technology as a standard infrastructure across the entire broadcast workflow. IP provides a network suitable for routing audio, video and control around a broadcast facility and is providing the answers to many industry challenges.
Tags: iss130 | kvm | adder | adderlink | alif100t | John Halksworth
Contributing Author John Halksworth Click to read or download PDF
Interview with Peter Rowsell, Polar Graphics
Polar If you don’t recognise the name Peter Rowsell instantly you no doubt would recognise him in person, from the famous ‘Pink Coconut’ parties during IBC (Brighton) in the 80s or the name ‘Polar Video or Polar Graphics’ both companies which he’s built up over the years.
Tags: iss130 | polar graphics | apantac | bluefish | cinedeck | focalpoint | mediaproxy | stardom | storagedna | Polar
Contributing Author Polar Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new

On the most recent occasion I was trimmed, my hairdresser had just returned from a holiday in Hawaii.

Where she thought she was going to die. She thought this because the state’s emergency alert system was triggered, sending messages across all available platforms, for 38 minutes, that a ballistic missile was about to strike. That, I suspect, is the sort of thing that casts a pall across your holiday.

Why did it happen? Essentially it happened because an operator selected the wrong menu item. “I feel very badly from what’s happened,” he is quoted as saying, in a somewhat mangled version of English which may at least in part explain his difficulties with menu items.

Tags: iss130 | alertsense | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Reliable back-up at the Music City Bowl
Sam Gordon WLEX – LEX18 – is the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky, and part of the Cordillera Communications Group. As a very popular local station with a broadcast area that covers 40 counties across central Kentucky we have a big commitment to news, broadcasting more than seven hours of live programming on a typical day.
Tags: iss130 | wlex-tv | dejero | engo | gobox | cellsat | Sam Gordon
Contributing Author Sam Gordon Click to read or download PDF
Why OTT needs multicast ABR
Damien Lucas Last year, Netflix’s global revenue reached $11 billion, with 24 million new names added to its subscribers’ list. Viewers are certainly making their preferences heard – and voting with their remote controls to show that over-the-top (OTT) content is here to stay.
Tags: iss130 | ott | abr | adaptive bit rate | cdn | dsl | lte | Damien Lucas
Contributing Author Damien Lucas Click to read or download PDF
Taking the lead in the HEVC and 4k revolution
Malcolm Harland There’s probably a good reason that BVE is held in late February — it offers you a few weeks to set your annual plans in place. Then, once you’ve decided on the opportunities you want to take advantage of and improvements you want to make, you have a chance to visit this massive exhibition to see the latest technological innovations that will help to bring your plans to fruition.
Tags: iss129 | garland | hevc | liveu | hc11000 | media excel | ntt | bws | lu600 | Malcolm Harland
Contributing Author Malcolm Harland Click to read