BEAT... real-time visualisation of breaking news
Organisation: The West Australian (Seven West Media) (Australia)
Publication Date: 03/04/2016
DescriptionWHAT'S THE PROBLEM? As our city grows, it gets harder to identify breaking news, respond quickly to breaking news and to deploy our staff and equipment around the city. When there’s a breaking news event, sending the right person with the right equipment to an event currently involves constant “where the hell are you” phone calls, illegible scribbling on white boards and, basically, a fair bit of luck. I want live, official, reliable information that I can use immediately. A newsroom needs to respond to breaking news now because our audience wants its news now. WHAT'S THE SOLUTION? Beat puts live information from the West Australian police despatch system in an easy-to-understand, usable, graphical interface for our newsroom. MatCAD, the WA Police computer aided despatch system, is made available to newsrooms via a password-protected website. But it’s hard to read, not ranked by newsworthiness, and there’s masses of data. Blink and you might miss something important. Beat polls MatCAD for new data every 30 seconds. It takes each event, categorises it by urgency, seriousness and newsworthiness, and delivers it on a dashboard accessible in the newsroom at a glance. -The most urgent crimes are marked with exclamation marks - they scream for attention -The colour codes represent how serious the crime is from purple (most serious), to blue (least serious) LET'S WARGAME Beat tells me a serious crime story is breaking. My first question: where are my reporters? My photographers? My satellite trucks to beam pictures back to the newsroom? Is the helicopter available? Let’s add our Newsroom Logistics Layer to Beat. By geolocating our staff and vehicles, I can see who is closest, who has the right equipment, the skills and ability to respond. We can make quick decisions. No more multiple phone calls. No more scribbling on a white board. We respond fast and efficiently to live news events. When you are running a live TV news bulletin, this is vital. IDENTIFYING TRENDS Beat can also be used to identify fast-moving crime trends. We could filter for burglaries in the past two hours. If we see a spate of burglaries, we can give our audience hyper-local, real-time information. The message might be: “There have been seven burglaries in your suburb in the past two hours, check your locks and doors and check on your neighbours…” What could be more local, relevant and usable than that? USABLE and SCALABLE? You betcha. If you’ve run a news desk in very busy newsroom, you’d kill for this… and more. We have already started identifying other usable real-time data which can be layered over Beat: for example, road closures and traffic delays seriously impact our ability to get to breaking news. WHY BEAT? Beat is a breaking news dashboard and vital newsroom logistics tool. It’s a simple, elegant, usable way to monitor the Beat of your city.
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