News Out Of The Cloud - Technology At The Front Line Of Journalism

Stuart Almond

Author: Stuart Almond

Published: 16 July 2019

News Out Of The Cloud - Technology At The Front Line Of Journalism

Throughout history, journalists have always had to seek and adapt to new technologies to deliver news in a format and at a speed that consumers demanded. Today, recent technological changes in the media environment have led to another inflection point. If modern media outlets want to empower journalists to remain agile and turn news stories around quickly and efficiently, they have to start embracing new, innovative technologies, like cloud-based media solutions.

Today, we’re seeing the media landscape continuing to evolve thanks to new technologies that allow for the seamless creation and distribution of content via digital channels. In this digital age, audiences have greater access to a wealth of information sources online, including social media and video streaming. This has enabled consumers across the globe to access and digest news from anywhere, whenever suits them best. Modern journalists need to be able to satisfy this demand, by delivering compelling stories to any platform, first.

Changing viewing habits

According to Ofcom’s ‘News Consumption in the UK: 2018’ report, the internet is now one of the most-used platforms for news, used by 64% of UK adults and social media is the most popular type of online news, used by 44% of UK adults.

This has had a significant impact on how journalists’ source, produce and distribute their news stories. Deadlines for a story are nowadays given in hours – or even minutes in the case of a breaking story – not days, meaning frictionless production is more critical than ever before.

Increased consumer demand is fuelled by infinite amounts of information and stories available to them. As a result, journalists need to find ways to remain connected even when working remotely as well as for global news agencies to recognise that linear workflows are a thing of the past. Ultimately, the future for broadcasters lies in transforming traditional media chains, unlocking more value for richer audience engagement, and doing more with less through the smart use of technology.

The rise of fake news

Alongside changing habits in this new digital landscape, fake news is growing in prevalence. With the proliferation of information sources through digital channels, journalists now also face an ongoing challenge to preserve factuality. The more sensational or interesting an online story appears to be, the more clicks and shares it gets - regardless of accuracy. News gatherers are therefore not only facing an uphill battle to capture the attention of viewers who are inundated with content in an ever-expanding mass of media, but are also trying to stay ahead of the curve to share stories as they break to disseminate true facts as quickly as possible.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s research report entitled ‘The Spread of True and False News Online’, fake news reaches more people and spreads six times faster than real news. Today’s consumers have access to a variety of largely unmediated opinions from endless sources across the web, meaning the need for clear, accurate and timely reporting from the frontline has never been more important.

Broadcasters need to empower their journalists to become the most trusted source for news by equipping them with the tools they need to tell their story in the most transparent and meaningful way directly from source. From workflow solutions that bridge field-based journalists with the news infrastructure, to toolsets that allow multiplatform live streaming, the right use of technology can be an ally for news journalists in combatting fake news and telling their story first.

Flexibility, accuracy and factuality through the Cloud

This new reality of changing news consumption habits and the challenges created by the rise of fake news means that media organisations need to re-evaluate how they operate. Put simply, linear workflows can no longer meet the needs of the modern news environment.

The age of cloud has created a third generation of newsroom systems: flexible, scalable, and accessible from anywhere. Introducing cloud technologies such as Media Backbone Hive to the physical and virtual infrastructure of a news organisation allows journalists to capture, share, access and deliver content 24/7 from any location. Field journalists can share information with newsrooms in real-time without technological restraints – in a large part through automation. Reporting is made quicker and simpler as devices such as cameras and smartphones can capture information and relay it back to the newsroom instantaneously, where the content can be edited and distributed within minutes.

Cloud-based media solutions also enable faster publishing of content to multiple online platforms, whether that's publishing content an organisation’s own website, to social media outlets or to broadcast TV. With newsrooms applying such technological advancements, in-house journalists and editors can quickly search the entire newsroom system to find what they need, either archived content or material arriving right at that moment – reducing editorial constraints and giving media organisations the ability to share news quickly.

Finally, cloud technologies offer huge economies of scale for the journalistic workflow. Operating with a frictionless news production system ensures collaboration between journalists and newsrooms is as streamlined as it can be. The more journalists use these solutions, the greater their benefit will be to a news organisation. Avoiding the classic overinvestment in underutilised resource.

Amidst the various challenges media outlets face, it is essential that newsrooms maximise on the transformative new technologies that are available, to stay ahead of the curve. From broadsheet to mobile app, the format and delivery of news is constantly evolving as a result of technological change. Cloud technology is another such disruptor, giving news organisations the ability to efficiently and speedily report on fast-breaking events whilst releasing time for investigative news pieces.

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