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Digital Signposts: Lessons from the Newsroom

Aug 22, 2013 10:25 AM, By Vern Freedlander


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The broadcast newsroom is a great working environment for corporate communicators to emulate. The ability to assess, produce, and distribute important content is a crucial, daily function for journalists. Digital signage producers who want to make a significant impact on their viewers should use the same approach.

Broadcast producers are focused on three things that help ensure that their content is understood with as little ambiguity as possible: Prioritization, clarity, and relevant visuals. News is always placed in a specific and well thought out order or line-up where the top story is given the most attention and is clearly the most important story of the day. Likewise corporate communicators using content management and channel building tools have the ability to push what they consider the most important or relevant information to their target audience in realtime and on to any device. Giving content a sense of priority or urgency has two important results: First, it ensures that important content does not get lost among the communication clutter and second, its timely delivery contributes directly to the viewer’s business goals.

Writers in the newsroom work hard to write with a strong sense of clarity. Short, concise sentences that capture and focus on the facts using conversational language is the style corporate communicators should strive for. This also translates to graphical text that appears onscreen. The idea here is viewers have little time to digest information, so it is important to get right to business and focus specifically on the most important information.

Last, television news producers tell their best stories by leveraging visuals. This can be graphical or video, but the visuals that work are the images that support the narrative without guesswork. A good image can communicate highly complex information more effectively than text or the spoken word. Ensuring that the image is relevant, editorially accurate, on-brand, and aesthetically pleasing is an important task for any corporate communicator who wants to get the most out of their signage network.

As digitization moves forward, more and more viewers are thinking and processing information visually. Broadcast newsrooms have been perfecting this process for decades. Both digital signage content producers and integrators can learn a great deal by studying these techniques and applying them to their information channels.

Vern Freedlander is vice president of production services for Montréal-based X2O Media, a full-service provider of technology, network management, and content services for professional digital signage applications. With more than 20 years of broadcast television experience as a producer, director, and executive, Freedlander oversees all of X2O Media’s content initiatives. He can be reached at vern@x2omedia.com.



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