Fox News recently featured a short tour of its ‘News Deck’ showing what goes on behind the scenes at this big American news channel. The pictures and video really caught my eye as you see the several of the news research team dwarfed by the huge tablets which appear to be almost sitting in their laps. All this technology was installed in the last month and the news studio was re-launched yesterday – backed with journalists operating these massive 55-inch touchscreens.
Microsoft's Perspective Pixel touchscreens
These Microsoft BATs (Big Area Touchscreens) are the main component immediately visible in the new setup. Unsurprisingly the machines run Windows 8. The users can sort and arrange interesting new stories and features and any one of the displays sent to the anchor man for TV broadcast.
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith presented the news room tour, which is featured on the TV station’s video blog. He talked about how the team works together for up-to-the-minute reporting and sorting real news stories from red herrings. Smith also demonstrated the screens working in conjunction with a 38ft wide video wall, which is manipulated with something that looks like a Wii controller.
Why implement these changes and invest in this technology? Kim Rosenberg, Senior Executive Producer at Fox News said “We’re trying to fuse the old way of doing TV news with the new reality which is smartphones, apps, the internet and computers”. Rosenberg sees her own company’s implementation of these systems as the mark of a pioneer and expects “this concept to be copied and eventually be the norm”. Another Fox executive, Peter Blangiforti, VP of Graphics Engineering, told us that in planning the new systems the designers looked at all sorts of systems and software that are in use by users as varied as the federal government, corporate presenters and “kids”.