NU-Q dedicates fully-automated newsroom

Northwestern University Provost Jonathan Holloway speaks to student reporters from The Daily Q about the opening of NU-Q's newsroom.

Students at NU-Q ran a live news program in its state-of-art Newsroom before Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, vice chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, and fellow members of the university’s Joint Advisory Board, along with invited guests, faculty, staff, and students as part of dedication ceremony held in the Newsroom. 

The newscast gave guests an immersive experience by running a live choreographed show to demonstrate some of the Newsroom’s most impressive features, including the use of robotic cameras, live-feeds from different locations, smart data visualization, and modular reporting around the newsroom. The demonstration portrayed how the Newsroom’s different areas work as one unit to run a complete show, while incorporating live feed from reporters around Education City and displaying different graphics on the screens. 

“The real story here is not simply the physical properties of this extraordinary space, perhaps the most advanced newsroom of its kind in the world today,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO. “It is the work that is and will occur here, the instruction that takes place, the people who are educated and trained—and what they do with the resources here in their future careers.”

The Newsroom features four main areas - news desk, social media set, modular video wall, and an area for a talk show.

The news desk is a glass table that can fit up to three presenters and features an interactive backdrop displaying a variety of content. The social media set allows users to take feeds from multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, and convert them into graphics or stream selected content on a live screen.

The 18-screen multipurpose video wall can stream news channels, weather reports, graphics, data visualizations, maps, and live feed coverage from events. And the talk show area serves as an informal area where students can practice interviewing multiple guests in a contemporary setting.

NU-Q Professor Miriam Berg is the first to teach in the Newsroom and her students have spent the last few weeks exploring the new technology and testing the newsroom’s capabilities, “My students and I feel very fortunate to be able to teach and learn in a cutting-edge environment. Our studio and Newsroom is pioneering the adoption of a fast changing news environment. We are not competing with other universities but with news networks across the globe.”

The Newsroom was designed by Lebanese architect, Ali Wazani, who is well known for his work with major news operations in the region. In addition to the faculty working with students, NU-Q also has a team of professionals in production and digital media services who oversaw the design and construction of the Newsroom.

“The Newsroom is revolutionary in the world of broadcast and production,” said Geoff Cannaby, director of production and digital media services at NU-Q. “We will only need two people to run an entire news show, compared to the usual five or six in other newsrooms. Also, as part of the design, five-color LED lights add dynamism to the Newsroom, allowing us to create different scenes for different shows such as breaking news, sports, entertainment, and weather.”

To take advantage of the Newsroom, NU-Q will offer courses that integrate technology, broadcast, and production with journalism and strategic communication, such as 360-degree video production, podcast creation, and digital storytelling.