Superdesk Announced as Newsroom Workflow Platform of Choice for Norwegian News Agency (NTB)¶
Norwegian news agency NTB has announced that it is adopting the industry-partnered Superdesk content platform to serve its editorial needs, now and through future waves of technological innovation.
The content platform scene is varied and competitive. Monolithic proprietary systems offer a one-size-fits-all “solution”, aggressively marketed through vendors, as elsewhere consultancy firms target clients willing to commission ad hoc dev teams for bespoke, single-use work. Neither approach results in systems with anything to offer for their often considerable cost beyond their features at launch.
Helen Vogt, NTB’s head of innovations, said that various options had been weighed against each other. “We looked at a lot of other products, but Superdesk won hands down,” she said.
Superdesk is the product of an open-source project leveraging the combined development resource of host commercial media houses that inform its evolution and expansion. It flies a flag for media industry standards, promoting globally agreed protocols for describing and handling content. (Sourcefabric, which initiated the overarching project and leads it, is an associate member of the International Press and Telecommunications Council, the IPTC.)
The system is designed for extensibility; to be updated and modified to match or anticipate the technologies powering emerging media trends that client organisations might adopt, adapt and monetise. Vogt said of Superdesk: “More than what it currently offered, we saw the potential.”
Being open source, each Superdesk update by any organisation’s development unit creates more features and capabilities for every other user.
“The features are good, no doubt, but the community building around it, the professional development opportunities as more and more journalist organisations sign on, is incredible,” Vogt said.
“Sourcefabric is a vendor, but it’s providing a unique network for continuous development of the utilities we all need, hopefully accelerating our ability to adapt as an entire industry.”
The Superdesk project is now a networked forum for member media organisations. Opportunities to coordinate the development of specific features, or to collaborate editorially and in other ways, abound. The platform, the community, the parallel development of Agile principles yield results in optimal time.
Sava Tatić, Sourcefabric managing director, welcomed NTB aboard the Superdesk project. “We’re grateful and excited that an organisation as mature and established as Norsk Telegrambyrå has invested in Superdesk,” he said.
Tatić sees Superdesk as commercially astute for the media industry - which is his industry, too, only his perspective is technology-biased. He says a modular, extensible approach to software tools is essential for businesses to survive as relentless industry upheavals continue, often spawned by the disruptive potential of emergent technologies.
“We are not just selling a product here,” he said. “We truly believe that as the industry continues to fragment, on both the consumer side and the providers themselves, the only way to thrive is to adopt an Agile-developed, open-source model like Superdesk.
“Superdesk is a fine newsroom tool. It is also the tool to remove technological limitations in the newsroom and beyond it. The IT department, internal infrastructure management, with a chance to put tech-debt and legacy milestones behind them, are finally as swift and responsive as editors need them to be.”
About The Norwegian News Agency/Norsk Telegrambyrå (NTB)
The Norwegian News Agency is Norway’s leading news and picture agency, serving the Norwegian media industry since 1867. NTB delivers a wide variety of content services - in text, pictures, video and live streaming.
Superdesk is a web-based content creation, production, distribution, publishing, curation and management platform in collaborative, open-source development at commercial news organisations from press to digital broadcasters.
Sourcefabric is the European, open-source software development house behind Superdesk and other media technology products.
It runs to Agile rhythms and, for the Superdesk project in particular, parachutes in its teams to work with each media client’s developers and, crucially, with the journalists who will use the tools.
Sourcefabric has on call its own old-school, but tech-literate, former news writers, subs and production editors to work with developers to define tools and workflow. It is similarly equipped with the expertise and experience of editors, managing editors, group editors and others with an abiding interest in the business bottom line.
For interviews and further details, please write to Emma Van Sant, Sourcefabric Communications manager.