THE NEW NEWSROOM
Digital Studio|October 2020
THE NEW NEWSROOM
A deep dive into how Indian news broadcasters embraced technology to ease broadcast in the pandemic
ANISHA GAKHAR

In the past few months of the ongoing pandemic, it has become all the more imperative to keep abreast with what is happening around the world. For news broadcasters, it has become important to report critical matters of public interest, now, more than ever. As a result, news channels have posted a 298% jump in viewership, as per a recent report by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). As a result, the share of news to total TV viewership grew to an overwhelming 21% from 7%.

Approaching people for a story directly, either physically or through a video call, is an important part of newsgathering. It helps to ensure the authenticity of the story. Journalists have been adapting to the new normal amidst the global health situation, by means of using newer technology along with smartphones, internet and social media. Many news anchors have set up cameras within their home spaces, and host shows from within the limited space available from home. They us their network’s branding in the background, so it exudes a formal look and feel. The broadcasts are relayed to the production control room using home broadband and 4G mobile hotspots. But in the news business, more often than not, it becomes unavoidable to go out in the community and report. In such scenarios, technology helps ease newsgathering. Indian news channels are keeping pace with advancements to up their game in these hard times.

CHALLENGES POSED BY THE PANDEMIC

In digital newsgathering, a news company needs to employ multiple alternatives in any given scenario for getting live video and audio from news anchors, and TV guests for news debate shows. OB vans are used where the broadband/data card based backpack are not feasible.

Sudheer Narayanan, VP, Technology, Republic World, said, “Due to the pandemic, guests for the news debates were not willing to come to the studio physically, and we had to devise a way to get live feeds from their homes. Due to movement restrictions, sending backpack units to guests wasn’t feasible, so we relied on smartphones/ tablets/ laptop using broadband connections.”

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October 2020