Integrated Editorial System for the Largest pan-Baltic News Agency

  • Custom editorial system with a full set of content management tools
  • Desktop clients for Windows, LINUX and Mac OS
  • Online and offline modes of operation
  • Compliance with industry-leading standards

Context

Customer

Our Customer is Baltic News Service (BNS), the largest pan-Baltic news agency headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia. BNS has branch offices in Latvia and Lithuania and represents the leading source of information in the Baltic states. The company employs over 150 reporters, editors, chief editors and translators releasing news items in five languages daily for subscribers to access through a web platform.

Articulating Objectives

To provide reliable in-depth coverage of domestic and international news, the company needed a powerful editorial solution. Since the legacy BNS software represented by several outdated systems incompatible with each other could no longer meet the ever exacting needs of BNS editors and reporters, the company requested development of a robust integrated editorial system. The objectives set included:

  • to create a universal editorial solution considering specific requirements of all company’s offices;
  • to provide BNS employees with an integrated working environment;
  • to deliver a potent editing tool streamlining editors’ daily routines, be it creating, editing and publishing news items or searching the archive for reference information;
  • switching to news production in line with the industry-leading NewsML standard.

The Customer needed an easily extendable yet enduring solution that could serve for another 10 years requiring no investments in further upgrades.

BNS had previously partnered with Itransition on development of the system frontend - a web portal for news subscribers. The results demonstrated by our web development team promted BNS to entrust Itransition with delivery and support of their new editorial system.

A Reliable Solution for Reliable News Coverage

To approach the problem and provide an effective solution for it, Itransition assembled a team of experienced developers and a business analyst. Our major challenge was to come up with a system model tailored to the needs of the three company’s geographically distributed offices, considering their specific requirements and business processes.

Solution

The solution delivered handles large amounts of digital content with over 1,100 news items generated in-house daily. The system is integrated with external data providers and processes the news feeds (over 40,000 news items daily) of such influential news agencies as Thomson Reuters, Agence France-Presse, the Associated Press, Interfax, etc. Approximately 6,400,000 news items are stored in the archive and may be searched by keyword or by phrase.

Functionality Overview

The solution was designed to cover a wide range of functional modules spanning from editing digital content to event management. BNS editorial system enables to manage multimedia data and an extensible set of meta information in compliance with industry-leading IPTC Media and NewsML standards.

Сontent Management

The system provides a highly customizable GUI and easy-to-use content management features comprising:

  • WYSIWYG news editor
  • Browsing and uploading audio and video content
  • Sending/receiving news items by e-mail and creating news items automatically based on incoming e-mails
  • Exporting news to TXT files
  • Generating news feeds
  • Bundled Content
  • Advanced search and filter capabilities
  • Transliterator
  • Item Access Control and Lock
  • Screen Layout Settings
Event Management

Event information sharing across the company is organized in accordance with another industry-leading standard - EventsML. The system event management features are represented by:

  • Internal calendar: tasks, events (i.a. recurrent events), reminders.
  • External calendar: importing events from UCI.
Administrative Facilities

Administrative facilities provide for:

  • User Management
  • Reports generation (the number of news items created/translated/published by user or by time period)
  • Who’s Online module
Workflow Support

Workflow support modules include:

  • Marking news item states (Draft, For Editing, For Correction, For Publishing, Scheduled for Publish, Published)
  • Scheduled and immediate publishing
  • Tracking changes

The system provides a multilingual user interface, which is vital for a system deployed in three differnet countries.

Technology stack

System Architecture and Modes of Operation

The system developed supports two client application types – a rich desktop client and a web-based thin client. Consistent use of RESTful web services implemented with Jersey allows external access to the system from anywhere in the world using a web client.

Offline Work technology developed by the Itransition team for the needs of the current project enables access to vital solution features using the rich desktop client even when the server is offline.

Unified Content-Centric Solution

To build a reliable, flexible content-centric system, Itransition utilized Apache Jackrabbit as reference implementation of the JCR standard with MySQL database as a backend. Hibernate, a robust Java persistence framework, was implemented to facilitate storage and retrieval of the digital content stored in the database.

Cross-Platform Solution

The solution desktop client runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux and Mac OS, so editors and reporters can keep on utilizing the operating systems they are accustomed to without sacrificing consistent user experience.

Project Results

Due to the success of the editorial system delivered, BNS managed to streamline its editorial and publishing workflows, facilitate collaboration and consolidate communication processes between the news agency’s centers.

The Itransition team demonstrated solid technology skills, consistent domain knowledge and customer focus. BNS is satisfied with the project results and continues collaboration with Itransition on the system support and further development of their IT-infrastructure.

Screenshots

Highlights

  • Solutions

    Media Content Distribution

    Collaboration Tools

  • Industries

    Media & Entertainment

  • Technology

    Java

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