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Product Spotlight: NewsRider

May 5, 2003  •  Post A Comment

What it is: NewsRider from AccuWeather, a PC-based graphics product for breaking news at local TV stations.
What it does: The system is similar to the company’s Galileo system for weather, introduced at last year’s National Association of Broadcasters Convention. The product is designed primarily to create graphics quickly to illustrate breaking traffic and public safety stories. NewsRider was introduced at this year’s NAB.
How it Works: The system is a hardware and software solution that relies on a server-class Dell workstation with a 2.4 Ghz processor. The high-performance allows for speed in producing graphics for fast breaking news, in minutes rather than hours, since the lengthy rendering time is all but removed. NewsRider can render as much as 100 times faster than traditional Unix or SGI systems. AccuWeather provides maps for each DMA with animated text and photographs and users can build on those to create highly detailed maps that incorporate building information, special effects and graphics, said Lee Rainey, director of marketing for the company. Events such as accidents, motorcades, police road blocks, fire and storm damage can be dramatized without sending a photographer or a helicopter. “Let’s say that there is an accident on the northbound ramp of I-25 [in Denver].Within seconds you could have on the air a variety of maps illustrating that,” he said.
Trading Spaces: NewsRider eliminates three things: the manual and slow creation of graphics, the absence of graphics for important breaking news stories that could be illustrated and the use of a helicopter.
Cost: The system is in the mid-$20,000 range, and there is a $300 per month fee for software and system maintenance and updates. “Compared to maintaining a helicopter this is very economical. This is not a replacement but a productivity tool, which is very much in the spirit of the new economy,” Mr. Rainey said.