Newsroom additions: Podcasting/streaming studio and discovery screens

Newsroom additions: Podcasting/streaming studio and discovery screens

Recently I’ve been involved in bringing two digital-media additions to our newsroom — one designed to highlight incoming media and another designed to help us produce better content for growing platforms.

These additions will improve the quality of our work without draining the budget. There are far more expensive ways to achieve these same goals, but I think these plans strike a prudent balance between cost and the perceptible increase in quality.

Podcasting/streaming studio

This new room is designed to boost two recent projects to the next level: A fledgling podcast version of our award-winning magazine program and our successful Facebook Live chats, which can be either a product of the newsroom or a sponsored event.

In a 10×15 room left unfinished after the latest building renovation, we’re painting the walls to create a multi-purpose space that will help us to offer new products to both the audience and clients.

Two Marantz USB microphones on articulating arms will be mounted on a round table in the center of the room, pointing toward two stools for the host and a guest. On the opposite side of the table, we’ll have a seat for an optional producer who can manage the recording or streaming software.

Also on the far side of the table, we’ll mount a Microsoft HD “LifeCam” on a third articulating arm.

Twin monitors will allow individuals on either side of the desk to operate a shared computer which will be equipped with OBS for live streaming to Facebook, and Audacity and Adobe Audition for podcasting.

In the corner behind the two “on-camera” seats, we’re going to mount a 40 inch TV on an angle. Using a memory card or a simple computer stick, we’ll be able to load logos or animations onto the screen as a backdrop for our live streams.

Discovery screens

Inspired by a recent essay from an ONA-aquiantance-turned-academic, my inner monologue has shifted and I prefer “discovery desk” to our old “assignment desk.”

I found that social media elements were sometimes being missed because accounts were buried under layers of apps and emails on editors’ computer screens. These new screens are dedicated to rotating through social media monitoring tools, giving our team an internet equivalent to their radio scanners.

Previously, each editor at our desk had two computer screens, one or two TV screens and their smartphone. (In addition to desk phones and the ever-present chattering if police radios)

Our new discovery screens add one additional window to that world.

The software is free, just a Chrome browser with a tab rotation plugin that alternates between several customized CrowdTangle display boards, TweetDeck lists and other similar pages. To further cut costs, we used an HDMI splitter to feed two screens (two desks) from a single mini computer stick.