Newsroom Hotline

Newsroom Hotline

Organisation: The West Australian - Seven West Media (Australia)

Publication Date: 03/02/2018


NEWSROOM HOTLINE Journalists are in the business of communication, but it has become far too difficult for people to communicate with us. Newsroom Hotline is a voice-to-text story tip off service that allows people to easily share information with journalists, no matter how they consume our content or how tech savy they are. THE PROBLEM It is too difficult for people to get tip offs to journalists. Many simply don’t know how who to contact or how. This is because we no longer have editorial assitants to receive calls, our reporters are often on the road and news editors in the office are managing breaking news and competing deadlines across multiple newspapers, websites and social media channels. The structure of newsrooms are constantly evolving, which makes it confusing for people without media experience to navigate to say what they want to say. Emails get lost in the white noise of press releases and too many phone calls bounce around the office. We need to make the connection between our community and our journalists as easy as possible. WHAT'S THE SOLUTION? Newsroom Hotline is a single telephone number that anybody can call to share story tip offs or provide feedback direct to journalists. The number is displayed in our newspapers, websites, within online articles and on social media. It uses a voice-to-text service that transcribes the recorded message and sends it to the newsdesk. The caller might want to tell us about smoke they’ve seen, provide a follow up to a child sex abuse investigation or tell us, through hands free, that they are stuck in traffic gridlock because the freeway is shut. Newsroom Hotline means their information will always reach the newsdesk on the first time of trying. HOW IT WORKS The transcribed messages are quickly published on a dashboard accessed by journalists on the newsdesk 24/7. It displays the caller’s phone number, time of call, the transcript and attaches the audio recording. If the caller rings from a mobile phone or provides their mobile number, they will receive two SMS updates from us. This is because we want our community to know they have been heard. The first SMS acknowledges that we have received their tip off and the second states whether or not we are following it up. If it is declined, they will receive a response informing them of that. In future, we would want tailored responses to explain how we reached our decision. If it is approved, they will receive a message stating that a reporter has been assigned to the story. If more information is required they will receive a call. WHY NEWSROOM HOTLINE? Newsroom Hotline does not discriminate. Not everyone has a Facebook account or email address or even the internet. Anybody with access to a phone – be it the latest iPhone or a telephone box on a street corner – can get their tip off to the newsdesk the first time, every time. Got a story? Call 0861172961

Technologies used for this project:

To build newsroom hotline we have leveraged AWS Lambda, API Gateway for our API's, with a React application hosted on S3. In the future, we would integrate authentication using AWS Cognito and could easily integrate into our newsroom curation tool, Gazette. We've integrated the Twilio API as the tool to provide the voice to text transcription and messaging service.
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