Feb 022017

Running a newsroom is both a sprint and a marathon. You have to move fast as things change, sometimes minute to minute, while also planning for the long term. How do you manage?

Some of the most popular tools in newsrooms are free and open source, like Twitter and Google Docs. Whatsapp has proved useful in communicating to and from the field on breaking news. But there’s extensive use of paid services, too, according to news managers I joined for a recent panel discussion hosted by the Associated Press.

David Bruns, executive producer of original video at The Washington Post, named Slack, Storyful and Spike as among the most useful tools in his newsroom’s arsenal.

Slack is a messaging and file sharing service with cloud storage that allows newsrooms to create “channels” for workgroups or stories. Other apps like Dropbox and Google Drive can be integrated into Slack. And it’s free to try the basic version.

Robert Lydick, vice-president of station operations for TEGNA, also praises Slack. “We use it for almost everything,” he said. Among other things, Slack helps the group’s newsrooms keep tabs on what’s trending because Chartbeat’s data analytics are integrated.

Storyful, owned by NewsCorp, verifies user generated content for its subscribers. It also secures rights to video for its clients.

Spike is a dashboard that promises to help news organizations discover content and pinpoint trends so they can publish content that’s likely to go viral with their audience.

Lydick said his stations find Bitcentral a useful workflow tool. The system notifies producers when a file is in the queue. Sounds good, but I’m a little nostalgic for the days of yelling across the newsroom to find out if a story’s ready.

As good as these tools are, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for these newsrooms. “We’d love to have one tool [do it all] but the reality is by the time you roll it out there are three more out there,” Lydick said. “I don’t see one that does everything.”

What tools does your newsroom use? Add suggestions in the comments!


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