Indian Express Reorganizes with NewsWrap
From a single edition in 1932, the Indian Express Group today publishes more than 35 national editions, operates nearly 15 publication centers with around eight regional language dailies. It has emerged as one of the leading newspapers in India,with well-known publications like The Indian Express, The Financial Express, Jansatta, Loksatta, Lokprabha, Screen, etc.
The group prints multiple editions and its language publications offer 'split runs' to provide local content to the readers. The content- both text and pictures come from various sources that include reporters, bureau offices, wire services, Internet and emails from free lance writers, stringers, and contributors.
Pre implementation scenario
With such an extensive set-up and numerous operating in place, the legacy systems were not able to keep up with the growing workload. The group had been using a legacy-based in-house editorial system for the past 15 years. The system was based on DOS and FoXPro, as well as a Novell network that was deployed over Linux servers. The DOS-based system was difficult to use especially for new employees who were used to graphical user interfaces (GUI).
There was no integration with the editorial system. Wire feeds were not integrated and were picked manually from folders on the PC when it arrived. Due to this traditional approach, stories were getting missed and there was a lack of co-ordination with people often working on the same story, leading to under-utilization of manpower. There were delays involved in the printing process, as the story print usually arrived late at the sub editor's desk. Delay sometimes amounted to more than 45 minutes.
Bureau news used to be sent from several offices all over the country and abroad. The bureau news was received via fax and only lately via email. There was no provision to view bureau and wire stories in one browser to see which stories can be merged or how many need to be selected for the next issue. Stories from the reporters would also be placed on in folders on individual PCs at the city desk. This would often result in stories getting lost, and folders getting renamed or deleted.
Pages were made in Quark XPress from RTF files or text files placed in folders. This was time consuming. The group relied only on WAN for transferring files and folders to other centers.
After necessary market research on the availability of solutions, the Indian Express group choose 4C Plus for NewsWrap implementation. It provided them much-needed multitasking, including a wire server, bureau server, smart spider, and an email extractor, as well as facilitate automatic story filing and easy integration and extension to the process. The editorial content management system implemented by 4C Plus helped the group in time management, cost-effectiveness, and quality assurance.
After implementation of Reporters can now file stories over the Internet using the Web version of NewsWrap that allows access to the newsroom over the web anytime. Management and senior editors can see the status of pages over the Internet using the Newswrap Internet based page preview.
The system ensures all stories are automatically forwarded to the right person as defined in the workflow and ensures no story gets missed. Emails are automatically extracted, the font converted on the fly if required, and then taken into the NewsWrap workflow.
"NewsWrap has helped us systematize our editorial operations across all our printing locations. It has also helped us to connect our editorial team via Web," says Tridib Bordoloi, Head of IT at the Indian Express group.
Stories are picked up automatically by the smart spider from the predefined Websites and sections. In addition, stories from a variety of sources can be merged using the NewsWrap editor. These stories are then taken into the workflow. Sub editors do not need to refer to the Websites over and over again saving time and bandwidth.
The story can be edited and formatted in the NW editor. The sub editor can now suggest the blurb (crosser), headline size, number of columns, etc. and get a WYSWIG preview of the story as it would appear in Quark XPress. Detailed audit trails and version tracking has brought about accountability and the performance of each user can be analyzed.
XTensions ensure that all stories that are meant to be continued on another page are present. Optimal use of resources across the organization as duplication of work is removed. In addition, there is an apparent reduction in investment in the training time for new editorial trainees, doing away with third party software and by making the editorial operations, paperless.
Value Addition to the Process
- Page making is done through Quark XPress XTensions developed by 4Cplus. It helps in speeding up the process of pagination by automating page making to a large extent.
- Checks the Quark page to ensure that there is no duplication of story or text within a story.
- Makes spell checks mandatory before the page is released.
- XTensions ensure that all stories that are meant to be continued on another page are present.
- Easy integration and extension to the Web editorial team.
- Reporters can now file stories over the Internet using the Internet version of NewsWrap that allows access to the newsroom over the Web anytime.
- Management and senior editors can see the status of pages over the Internet using the Newswrap Internet-based page preview.
The Indian Express group has also implemented SAP. The IS/ Media Advertisement Module of SAP has been integrated with the 4Cplus page planning system - Layout-X. The advertisements to be published are placed on the page templates using Layout-X.
The booking and scheduling information is picked through Layout-X from SAP IS/MAM. The ad dummy is then placed on Quark XPress 5.0 templates and these ad ready pages are accessed by the editorial users.
Layout-X is the bridge between SAP and the NewsWrap editorial system. "We received excellent support from 4Cplus that helped us roll out the application across the enterprise to four publications in a record time," added Bordoloi.