News planning tools: Q&A with Diane Burley, Nstein Technologies
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Diane Burley is media specialist for Nstein Technologies, which develops and markets multimedia content management solutions.
IFRA: What is it that newsroom managers are seeking in their planning solutions today?
Burley: They are hoping they have staff!! With companies looking to cut operational costs, the knife keeps coming back to the newsroom. What newsrooms need are tools that help them do more with less people, and they need tools that will not require a PhD in computer science to use. So simplicity — meaning highly intuitive interfaces, that are role-
The lifeblood of any media company is its content so newsrooms are looking for tools that put the control back in the newsroom — where it should be.
IFRA: What makes your system so simple that a reporter working remotely can access and update his story, planning, assignments, etc.?
Burley: Nstein’s WCM is simple because it offers role-
Additionally, because WCM integrates easily with TME, Nstein’s text mining tool, at any time, a writer can see, verify or modify the tags that have been automatically generated. Additionally the individual can see other stories that closely match the article — so that they can link those stories as well.
IFRA: What type of overview will your solution give editors/reporters working across multimedia packages?
Burley: Nstein’s products allow companies to break down content silos by creating an XML representation of any and all assets in a single media hub, that, combined with text mining, allows editors or web producers from across the company to have access to any relevant content (article, picture, blog, comment, video, audio, etc).
IFRA: How have the past months affected the way publishers are seeking solutions, especially considering that many newsrooms face a big challenge in being able to do editorial with a staff that is drastically downsized from what it was? We have noticed some editorial system providers stressing the extent to which their systems multiply the workforce. So editors looking for new systems are likely trying to figure out how to make the technology take up as much of the slack as possible. …
Burley: Finding ways to take tasks OFF the plate of editors is a huge issue — and a great opportunity for Nstein. There are so many tasks to be done in the day for a journalist — and to serve both print and web has, in many cases, doubled those tasks. First, typically staffs need to create content in two different editorial systems (print and web) — and then cut and paste the content into the other system in order to share across channels. Secondly, editors are asked to tag. Third, with staff freezes at best, and layoffs at worst, they are stretched to write more, with less time for research.
Nstein’s solutions solve all these issues: Content that is created in an editorial system can be automatically ingested into Nstein’s DAM — with all of the formating automatically stripped away. All assets are semantically tagged, as comprehensively as the media company desires, and because of this semantic tagging — can be associated with other assets with literally the touch of a button. So an editor could pull together a news package on a given subject in literally minutes.
Further, inline links, which are really critical for user navigation and SEO, but an nearly impossible task to do manually, can now be done automatically.
Having these tools can allow a publisher to turn out a microsite in literally days, which prior would have taken months to do.
There is another issue too. We are addressing here only editorial productivity. But Nstein’s system actually impacts every discipline across a media company: Marketing, IT and web development. Our clients have reported that because of the ease of the system, the calls on IT staff are greatly reduced. Marketing has found that it can create custom news alerts — automatically! And the Web development folks are finding that with all the tools at their fingertips, they are not waiting for IT to come and write a piece of code for them. So across the board, productivity is increased.
This is part of how we calculate the ROI for publishers.
IFRA: Pricing has got to be a real challenge now, even more than before, knowing that newspapers are in financial trouble and simply cannot afford too high a price. What is your response to this dilemma?
Burley: Despite the economy, Nstein has been busier than ever! It’s not really that surprising as Nstein’s solutions impact top and bottom lines. We are able to specifically quantify the savings and productivity impacts to show how this truly is an investment. So we have found that it is less price than value. We are able to justify with confidence that our clients will see a strong ROI. In some cases, having this very strong web presence will give some publishers the option to fade away their print and concentrate only on digital distribution. Or, because they have this digital infrastructure in place, that follows open standards, they know that they could actually buy a troubled property — and get those assets into play in a matter of weeks.
IFRA: We have heard of some providers that are diversifying their business, such as going after magazine markets more, selling solutions to banks, governments, etc., who more and more need their information published... Is your company looking into this? If so, what are the main reasons and potential there?
Burley: Nstein has always entertained other verticals – in fact our solution is well-
IFRA: How much of your planning tools has to do with the type of target publisher you might be going after, i.e. what do/can you provide for that 15,000-
Burley: We have found that large publishers have been the primary user of Nstein’s solutions — those or media companies with several smaller verticals. The publishers who best fit are those whom are managing large asset repositories of say, over 100,000 assets (articles, pictures, video, etc).