News graphics, maps and social media, the evolution in storytelling

A great broadcast graphics solution must take a world of complex events and technology and make it simple and powerful - for the viewer and for the broadcaster.

As new forms of media create new ways for people to record and consume information, those of us in the business of broadcast graphics and asset management face the inevitable question: Are these new capabilities and new forms of content a help or a hindrance to broadcasters and their audiences? My answer is simple. When we give producers real tools that seamlessly integrate into their workflows, when their use becomes a fundamental part of telling the story, audience engagement and understanding is dramatically enhanced.

A great broadcast graphics solution must take a world of complex events and technology and make it simple and powerful - for the viewer and for the broadcaster. With a template-based solution, like Viz Pilot, journalists are able to access and edit images, text, videos and maps. They can build playlists for on-air and online use. And they can use the system within the environment of the newsroom control system.

Maps are one of the journalist's storytelling tools. Whether illustrating a local human interest story or offering a perspective on events unfolding in the far reaches of the world, speed and access to information make all the difference. Often, the most compelling information turns out to be a blending of maps and photos. Partnering with DigitalGlobe and their world-leading archives of satellite and aerial images, Vizrt's Viz World's comprehensive database of political boundaries, coastlines, roads and local features transports the audience to the scene, puts the event in clear context, and helps them experience the impact of the event.

These high-resolution 3D branded and animated maps layer onto newly captured photos from DigitalGlobe's FirstLook service. Using high-resolution images from before, during and after the event, journalists can monitor and report the events as they unfold. The right information delivers impact, accuracy and immediacy that drive the story instead of complicating it. The tools are easy to use and fully integrated with the broadcast production workflow so the journalist can focus on presenting the story, not managing the technology.

Broadcasters can also tell a more compelling story in real-time by harnessing the power of social media. Every day, hundreds of millions of people share the world around them by interacting on social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And local newscasts are learning to engage viewers in a more personal way, pushing them into real-time participation and allowing their voices to be heard.

As the number of social networks continues to grow, broadcasters must implement a stable platform that seamlessly accommodates them all, with tools for all departments in the production chain. And social television systems must allow producers to harvest and manage these geo-located messages in the same workflow as any other content. With well-designed Social TV tools, a Skype interaction can provide a live remote from anywhere. Viewers can comment on the action in real time, vote, ask questions, follow what's trending, and provide weather or traffic conditions, This viewer-generated content paints a canvas of viewpoints that data alone can't convey.

World events become more complex, technology evolves and the broadcast audience continues to fragment. But with the right production tools in their hands, journalists can deliver their stories more clearly and powerfully than ever before. More information, told more simply. Everybody wins.