While many networks are focused on developing client-facing social apps, CNN has created Newstron, an internal platform designed to harness the power of news traveling through digital and social for the benefit of its journalists. The platform is wholly designed and developed by Turner, and has been available to CNN’s editorial staff for over a year.
One of the newest tools introduced within Newstron is StoryTracker, which presents content (from both CNN and outside sources) to editorial users in an easy-to-consume way. According to Michael Koetter, SVP of Media Technology and Development at Turner, the tool drags in video, Instagram posts, text, tweets, URLs, and 10 to 13 different supported objects.The end goal of the platform is to make it easier for CNN journalists to do the initial legwork on a story so that they can direct more of their energy towards high-level reporting.
The use of Newstron also results in increased production opportunities and more complete storytelling, and has recently been used to report on stories ranging from the Sochi Winter Olympics to Flappy Bird being removed from the iTunes store.
“The newsgathering, curation and sharing capabilities inside Newstron are the same for domestic and international story use,” Victor Hernandez, Program Manager, CNN Editorial Systems, told Lost Remote. “We realized pretty early on in the design processes that in today’s current news and media environments – information often transcends borders. A significant story occurs in one part of the world, and quickly news and reaction pours in from other corners of the globe. We needed to ensure the technology supports the integration of hybrid workflows and content opportunities across regions, platforms, newsrooms and devices.”
For example, as the story evolved about Nelson Mandela’s passing in December 2013, the social reactions of professional athletes were captured and curated within the StoryTracker tool. Journalists also have their own pages where their most recent tweets are displayed, along with their contact information, a list of their social profiles, and stories they are tracking.