An AP director of operations and former news director explains how adopting a mobile workflow streamlines communications and allows journalists to be productive in the newsroom and on the go.
Anybody with a smartphone can stream developments from nearly anywhere in the world – one look at your Twitter or Facebook feed shows how quickly information can be transmitted.
Facing this increasing competition from user-generated content, how can news organizations keep up?
While it’s true reporters can’t be everywhere, they can reduce the time needed to deliver breaking news updates to audiences. Here’s how:
Adopt a fully mobile workflow.
Doing so allows newsrooms to become more agile. But where can they begin?
1. Leverage the tool most, if not all, of your staff already uses.
While smartphones have changed the way the general public communicates, they can also make news operations more efficient. Mobile applications allow journalists and producers from around the world to message each other instantaneously.
These apps also increase information-sharing and collaboration, as users can easily be added to teams and assigned different permissions, all without any additional equipment required. Messages can be short or long and contain different types of media, including video, photos and text.
(As an added bonus, apps reduce your dependence on email!)
But the real beauty of smartphones is that they can connect to the Internet wherever they get service (a widening geographical area by the day). They go where broadcast trucks cannot – crowded areas, disaster zones, etc. – and prove more portable than laptops, which cannot transmit data on their own.
Having a truly mobile mindset allows you to send and edit content from virtually anywhere – shaving precious minutes and seconds off your turnaround time to audiences.
2. Streamline the workflow.
Communicating via smartphones and tablets reduces the need for additional equipment and training, and because they already receive a lot of attention from journalists, it makes sense to inject them into the news production process.
However, it’s important to remember that just because everyone is using the same tool, that doesn’t mean they’re all on the same page.
Mobile applications are great, but new ones pop up constantly and they usually have a singular purpose. You may be taking notes in Evernote, holding conversations in Slack and then sharing stories on social through Twitter and Facebook.
When you’re storing pictures in Photos, emailing in Gmail and browsing on Safari, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when you’re on deadline.
News organizations need a centralized production hub that staff both inside and outside the newsroom can access. To break news first, journalists must be able to communicate with editors from planning to post-production, while gathering multimedia content and sharing it on social media.
We’ve harnessed this feedback to develop AP ENPS Mobile, an all-in-one app that’s allowing hundreds of newsrooms and their staffs to be productive wherever they are. Reporters can now receive updates, edits and assignments from editors, monitor rundowns and access wires and contacts on the go — in one place.
Having access to resources is crucial; having lots of emails and apps is not. Be prepared and break news first with your new mobile mindset.
Andy is the director of ENPS product design and operations for The Associated Press and previously worked as a news director in the broadcast media industry.