Upgrade 2nd step to revamp of decade-old newsroom

by Xakota Espinoza / Beacon Staff • January 26, 2011

For Lance Kyed, director of television, radio, and film operations, the first step to revamping the Walker Building’s TV journalism newsroom was upgrading to high-definition cameras.

Now, the second step of that process is underway, with the same production system used by professsional broadcasters.

After more than seven years of working with what gradually became a somewhat-outdated automation system, Kyed said Emerson’s TV journalism facility has recently adopted a new Ross OverDrive system, aimed to simplify and improve the entire production process.

Timothy MacArthur, the journalism facilities manager, said the Ross OverDrive automation system will put all of the technical aspects of production on a single operator. He said the hardware negates the need for  a crew of six to 12.

“The current system has far greater technology than that of our previous system,” MacArthur said. “Before, the shows never got to the same level as they do now, because each day we’d have to train a new group of people on all of the technical positions.”

Kyed said there are still several more phases involved in getting the control and news room up to date.

“We still need to put in a new server for the editing system, as well as new interfaces,” he said. “The entire process of upgrades will take two to three years to complete.”

MacArthur said students and faculty are already noticing an improvement in the quality of shows, as they are now able to do much more than they previously could.

“Our crowning achievement with the system came with WEBN’s live election coverage,” said MacArthur. “[The show] went far more smoothly than ever before, which is a large testament to not only the students but also the new technology.”

According to junior Stephanie Greenland, who works as director of WEBN and the journalism channel, the new system has far fewer limitations, providing them with the technology to create a much more sophisticated production, such as allowing them to show back to back graphics, like those CNN premiered during 2010’s mid-term elections.

“This new system is definitely worth it,” the broadcast journalism major said. “This is the kind of system we’ll be coming into contact with after graduation.”

According to MacArthur, there are no foreseeable rebuilds for at least another seven to 10 years. However, with the ever-developing industry, staying on top of technology is somewhat of a necessity.

“As soon as you install anything, its out of date within a year. That’s the challenge in not only a broadcast industry but an educational institution as well.”