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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Multimedia newsroom workflow?
Grant Blankenship, Photographer
Macon | GA | USA | Posted: 12:00 PM on 02.17.09
->> So our increasingly shrinking newsroom produces multimedia packages. Filing a single photo for online is much like filing for the paper. An "online person", much like a copy editor, gets their hands on a cutline to clean it up before the photo could hit the website.

Now we are pumping out an entire sound and audio piece before anyone has had the first chance to check the cutlines. Soundslides is our app of choice. While obviously a godsend for shooters in terms of ease of use, for our online editors it has proven to be too unwieldy for quick and dirty caption editing. If you have used Soundslides you know why editing the captions outside of Soundslides and re-importing the newly cleaned up images would also slow things down.

So we are left looking for a better workflow. Please describe your paper's workflow, from the time you have all the elements of your story in hand to publication. Most importantly, how are the captions getting vetted quickly and accurately before you sit down to build the piece?

Thanks,
Grant B.
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Karl Stolleis, Photo Editor, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | | Posted: 2:08 PM on 02.18.09
->> Grant,

Honestly this is a problem in newsrooms the world over. First, Soundslides is great for the shooter but not for a lot of other reasons.

Most are now using some sort of Flash based or JavaScrip/Ajax based presentation where captions are edited in the web CMS, just like any other caption. In the case of Flash you can also use XML generated by the CMS. Big thing is you have to use tools from within your CMS to get this done quickly. Also, by using your CMS you can make "rolling edits," meaning get something up quick and double check it later. SS is not good for this either.

Second issue is finding a copy person before noon. Many papers now have one or two but they are usually swamped. The other issue is just the time honored tradition of editing something 24 times before it moves. Have one person check it and go.

For audio pieces you should consider moving to video editing software like FC Express. I am sure you guys have a video hosting service and it will fit neatly into there.

My last thought - and this is personal, in an audio slideshow the images and audio should tell the complete story. Captions are redundant and almost unnecessary if the whole package is done right.

Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

KS
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Dave Doonan, Photographer
Kingston | TN | USA | Posted: 4:12 PM on 02.18.09
->> What about writing your cutlines in Photo mechanic or Bridge before importing into Soundslides?
I am a one man show and that's what I do. I agree that the sound should tell the story, but sometimes a reader wants a caption.
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Karl Stolleis, Photo Editor, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | | Posted: 6:19 PM on 02.18.09
->> Dave,

That doesnt solve the issue of getting the captions into a "normal" newspaper workflow that utilizes the copy desk. It also doesnt help with the time factor.

As a one man band your method works great. In fact, you should be writing your captions before bringing them into SS.
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Grant Blankenship, Photographer
Macon | GA | USA | Posted: 9:10 AM on 02.19.09
->> Karl,

Given our present resources it looks like editing the XML file is the way to go. I guess the next step is to see how our CMS might facilitate that.

I am interested in what other Flash based, everything-in-the-box style apps folks are using to get this done. I'll cruise other McClatchy papers and see what they use.

Thanks for the help.
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Karl Stolleis, Photo Editor, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | | Posted: 12:32 PM on 02.19.09
->> Grant,

Talk to your programmers and you will find that the XML is not edited but created by your CMS for you. Most CMS systems have some provision for inputting a photo and then editing the caption. As to Flash driven stuff, you will find a million responses to that one. Most folks I know are using custom built SWF's controlled by XML to take advantage of things like tracking metrics.

Some folks are using JavaS or Ajax to do the same thing but check with your sys folks and see what your system is capable of.
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Grant Blankenship, Photographer
Macon | GA | USA | Posted: 12:41 PM on 02.19.09
->> "Most folks I know are using custom built SWF's controlled by XML to take advantage of things like tracking metrics."

That's the sort of thing they will be most interested in, for sure.
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Karl Stolleis, Photo Editor, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | | Posted: 6:20 PM on 02.19.09
->> Oh, and not to let the cat out of the bag but depending on how your ads are served on the pages, you can use Flash to create ad refreshes on the page without refreshing the entire page. The bean counters will like that too.
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Thread Title: Multimedia newsroom workflow?
Thread Started By: Grant Blankenship
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