22 July 2003

NewsBoss Workshop

Report of a recent workshop on the NewsBoss software installed in the radio journalism lab, attended by Professional Communication and TSU staff.

Professional Communication and TSU staff recently attended a NewsBoss workshop in the radio journalism lab. Desktop Technologies, an Australian company that developed the software, ran the workshop.

The workshop was a real eye-opener in terms of the capability of the software, and its potential for use in radio, print and television journalism. The Division has invested heavily in the software and equipment in the lab to support it: having attended the workshop there are now opportunities to increase the Division's return on this investment by better management of the resources.

It is possible to use the system to manage making stories available on NowUC. Once an appropriate approval process is established, the stories created on the system can be directly uploaded to the NowUC website by anyone with the appropriate authority. Stories can include audio grabs, and possibly video as well.

An upcoming release of the software due later this year will further increase our ability to provide services to journalism students. Should the new release live up to expectations, next year it will be possible for journalism students to interact with the system from anywhere on the Internet through a browser. We are still exploring the licensing implications of this approach (that is, how much extra it will cost us), but indications are that the increased cost will be minimal or non-existent.

When the new version of the software has arrived and has been thoroughly tested, TSU will move the NewsBoss server to the server facility in 9B7: to provide better security, to increase capacity and to manage the server better. It should also be possible to combine the functions of both the NewsBoss and the Journalism server, reducing the number of our servers by one. We expect the move to happen in time for Semester 1, 2004.

During second semester this year it should also be possible to increase the number of computers around the Division capable of editing audio for NewsBoss. There are several possible approaches to this, and TSU is exploring introducing some or all of them in time for the expected load later this semester. Access to resources to edit audio for assignments was a particular challenge for students in Semester 1, and caused some difficulties for students and staff.

NewsBoss can also be used to manage and deliver news for the television journalism students in Semester 2. By using the same system for both (something a number of organisations around the world involved in both television and radio do, apparently) we can reduce complexity, provide a better service and reduce the students' needs to learn new applications.