Conference Notes

Beyond Sharing: Reimagining the Digital Newsroom with SharePoint (Chad Schorr, Associated Press) – Share 2012, Atlanta

Chad Schorr from Associated Press is talking about reimagining the digital newsroom with SharePoint. The AP built a new editorial approach on SharePoint for publishing news. Three themes:
– SharePoint can be used for your tier 1 mission critical applications. You can run your business on SharePoint.
– SharePoint is a foundation for solutions. Get creative and don’t feel confined.
– SharePoint is “Office Server” (the server for Office)

Key points:
– Chad used to think that SharePoint was a side player. He’s changed his mind.
– on any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from the AP. News is delivered in a lot of different formats. AP has over 300 locations worldwide, 3700 employees (2/3 of which are news gatherers).
– background – the legacy news system reached its functional limit and become too costly to maintain. They built a new editorial system on top of SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010. Journalists used Word 2010; the heavy lifting is done by SharePoint 2010.
– demonstration:
– … developed a custom add-in for Word 2010. Gives everything the journalist needs to do to file a story.
– … … eg., fields for a Slug, Headline, External Headline, etc.
– … … eg., Ribbon buttons for different things that make sense for a journalist.
– … use tags to classify the document, and to signal workflow (eg., “readyforedit”)
– … can email the story (link and contents) to another person, or IM the link to someone (with a skin on communicator)
– … developed a custom application for search – for finding things based on the tags.
– didn’t show you SharePoint – but there is very deep integration. “The design is based on what users need to do, not what the technology can do.” (Spent a lot of time ripping things out, or hiding things that our users don’t need to see).
– the business problem led us to SharePoint:
– … there was no versioning of stories [lack of document management]
– … individual editing bureaus had different back ends (couldn’t see what other bureaus were doing) [lack of work item visibility]
– … journalists used the legacy system to IM and email [barriers to collaboration]
– … all other media types used different systems entirely
– it’s much easier to show something – than telling them about it. Show a demonstration to the decision makers.
– … “If you can’t stand up a proof-of-concept in 2-3 days, it’s a good signal that SharePoint may not be the right solution.”
– … Makes it easier for the decision makers to move ahead.
– The system – has 1,000 journalist in the United States, it processes 5000 articles a day.
– Sometimes the answer to a complex problem is a simple change (eg., fixing the versioning problem)
– users are starting to make use of My Site. Are using My Site for stories in draft – when they want to work on something outside of the newsroom system.