Efficiency in Complex Newsrooms
2020 Winner

Efficiency in Complex Newsrooms

Nine

Pyrmont, Australia

Category Best New Technology or Digital Product

Overview of this campaign

Every minute wasted in an inefficient platform is a minute that could be spent making journalism worth subscribing to — so we built Ink to maximise efficiency for our complex newsrooms.

Our newsrooms are complex for two reasons:

  1. The digital and print workflows in our newsrooms are heavily intertwined. Our topics (be they politics, business, lifestyle or sport) commission and create content for both digital and print. This is central to maintaining quality and value across all channels.
  2. Our newsrooms service multiple mastheads. We needed a CMS that supported five brands and newsrooms: the flagship print/digital mastheads, The Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald; and the digital-only Brisbane Times and WAtoday.

In Nine's Ink publishing platform, our approach to addressing these problems and helping our newsrooms drive digital subscriptions growth is fourfold:

  1. Planning tools to reduce duplication and maximise subscriber opportunities across channels.
  2. WYSIWYG editing to ensure quality digital presentation is front-of-mind for journalists grappling with serving digital and print equally.
  3. Consolidation of content creation into a single CMS that allows journalists to move intuitively through article, video, newsletter or web publishing.
  4. An engineering approach that delivers efficiency benefits equally to newsrooms, while allowing them to pursue distinct subscriber strategies.

In 2019, we undertook a number of major projects to help our newsrooms achieve their goals, including:

  • Flexible multi-newsroom publishing within a single CMS.
  • Integrated digital and print news planning.
  • Editing and workflow tools to improve the efficiency of print production.
  • Efficiency improvements for newsletter editing and production, within the single CMS.
  • Leveraging machine learning capabilities to support newsroom productivity and content distribution.
  • Syndicated video publishing without the need for specialist skills.
  • An updated web-editing tool that allows newsrooms to more efficiently pursue their own subscriber strategies.

Results for this campaign

Support for multiple newsrooms

Ink supports unique article layouts, WYSIWYG UI and production queues for each newsroom. Each journalist's newsroom is automatically selected, but production staff can work across multiple newsrooms.

News planning

Searchable, curated newslists allow editors to simultaneously plan and program content for web, print, newsletters and other channels. Direct integration with Ink’s web editor and CyberPage for newsprint allows editors to add stories from newslists to their pages.

Print efficiency

Editing notes are synced between Ink and CyberPage. Print cuts and print word counts in authoring give writers greater control over how their stories appear in print, and save time copyfitting. Print cuts alone have reduced copyfitting by 10 hours a week.

Newsletters

Newsletter authoring is now supported in Ink, reducing production time by 90 minute per newsletter — a 60% saving overall.

Content tagging

Added entity tag recommendations to assist journalists in improving the breadth and quality of metadata attached to news and feature articles. The number of tags per AFR article has already increased 25%.

Syndicated video

Integrated AP wire video into Ink, allowing any editor to publish syndicated video. The video production team reports the time taken to publish AP video has fallen from 6 - 7 minutes in the previous system to less than 1 minute.

Web editing

Replatformed Ink's web editing tool, allowing each masthead to develop new homepage features with minimal intervention from the CMS team.

Technical approach

The Ink platform leverages WordPress authoring features and open-source software in addition to internally developed solutions. It is entirely "cloud" delivered with more than 100 services and APIs forming to address the needs of our newsrooms. Unlike most CMS platforms, Ink uses a structured content store, natively supporting non-web channels such as apps, newsletters and notifications. Content is managed in a channel-agnostic form (JSON). This provides product flexibility and reduces the cost to service new emergent channels.


Contact

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