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Making News Agency Publishing Plans Available in Real-Time

Stars4Media recognises Sourcefabric-STT project
Stars4Media recognises Sourcefabric-STT project

To be competitive in a 24/7 news cycle, publishers that use news agency content need to know what stories are planned, and when those stories will be delivered.

So, when customers of the Finnish News Agency, STT, responded to satisfaction surveys that the agency’s way of working – pushing out planning advisories at set times during the day – was too slow, STT initiated a change to its newsroom workflow. It then called on Sourcefabric to create the technology that could facilitate these enhancements. 

Sourcefabric was a natural partner in this endeavor. STT already uses Superdesk, our award-winning open-source headless CMS, as a routing hub to send its digital content to Newshub, another Sourcefabric tool that the news agency uses as its customer portal. And our flexible technology is used by news organisations around the world to empower change within their operations. 

During a previous project, Sourcefabric automated the distribution of STT’s published text news items into Newshub by pulling them from the news agency’s legacy CMS. Today, this routing process works in the background and seamlessly integrates with STT’s current workflow.

This same logic is being applied to STT’s planning automation project, “Real-time news coverage planning,” which has been recognised as an outstanding newsroom transformation initiative by the EU’s Stars4Media program. By sending planning details from STT’s CMS to Newshub via Superdesk, STT customers will soon be able to see in real time what stories are being planned and when to expect them. The project was awarded Phase 1 funding by Stars4Media and is under consideration for Phase 2 funding.  

“The ‘Real-time news coverage planning’ project developed by STT and Sourcefabric is an example of successful collaboration between companies and professionals with complementary skills for achieving newsroom transformation,” said Catalina Dumbraveanu, Stars4Media programme manager.

“It goes far beyond mere technological updates – by considering the real needs of the media sector and of the journalists themselves to improve services and make real-time news planning a viable option for active news-gathering.” 

Dumbraveanu added that the project is aligned with the goals of the Stars4Media programme, which aims to support European news organisations through funding and coaching, to achieve long-term business and/or newsroom transformation.

What might seem like a small development tweak will in fact have a major impact on STT’s operations. “At the heart of this project is the ability to evolve to client needs,” said Gideon Lehmann, a Sourcefabric project manager. “For any news organisation to thrive it must be able to adapt its operational behaviour to address market requirements.”

If the project receives Phase 2 funding, a key focus will be on empowering change within the STT newsroom to adopt the technological solutions. 

“Technology will enable these changes but there are big changes happening behind the user interface, too,” said Maija Paikkala, STT’s business developer. “Journalists’ work will become transparent. Clients will see what our journalists are doing in real-time. This is a big change in the newsroom’s mindset, and it will require changes to workflows.”

Sourcefabric is also optimising the mobile version of Newshub to enable the real-time delivery of planning updates as they become available. Email delivery of coverage updates will also be available to STT customers in real-time as part of this project.  

Anyone using Superdesk will be able to take advantage of these features, with an initial rollout as part of Newshub version 2.3, and a full feature set in version 2.4 and 2.5 later in the year. “It will be part of Newshub’s open-source code and will be available for everyone going forward,” Lehmann said.

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