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Product Spotlight: NewsLink

Jun 24, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: NewsLink, a newsroom automation system from Sundance Digital in Irving, Texas.
How it works: NewsLink integrates the equipment involved in the production of broadcast news. It links the newsroom computer system, still stores, character generators, video servers and video editors, said Fred Schultz, VP of newsroom automation for Sundance Digital. “This product is designed to justify the purchase of video servers. It makes the server useful,” he said.
Central management: NewsLink embeds Active X controls into the newsroom computer system to provide all users with access to graphic devices and integration tools. This allows an assignment editor to slug the story in the Active X window, the reporter to write the script and place character generators in it and editors to integrate their cut video.
For the director: NewsLink streamlines control room operations with a display that replaces hand-marked paper scripts. This display centralizes all device controls, which unburdens the director from having to control several media devices at once, Mr. Schultz said. NewsLink tracks the director’s switcher operations through its tally lines, and each act (such as turning a character generator on or off) is updated on the display. “NewsLink is not automation of news in the traditional sense but instead provides a production assist for live news,” Mr. Schultz said.
Features and benefits: NewsLink can archive stories from servers to videotape, DVD or digital Beta. The system archives stories immediately and stores copies on the server for a few days after air. The system then cleans stories off the server that have been there for those few days but have been untouched. “It asks the user if a list of stories should be deleted after a certain number of days of not looking,” Mr. Schultz said. NewsLink also records news feeds from affiliate feed services directly onto the station’s video servers. In addition, it can transfer material from the servers of digital distribution systems such as Pathfire or BitCentral onto the video servers at the station for editing.
Cost: $85,000.
Target market: The product is geared toward mid-market stations.