NU-Q opens new broadcast newsroom

Abdelmagid Adam, Staff reporter

Photo from NU-Q’s Instagram Page (@nuqatar)

Northwestern University in Qatar will officially open its state-of-the-art newsroom on Oct. 29. The newsroom features an editing suite, a graphics room, and a voice-over booth, according to Geoffrey Cannaby, director of production and digital media services at NU-Q.

“We did not want to build a traditional newsroom with a desk,” he said. The newsroom is comparable to international broadcast newsrooms around the world, such as CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera. Since the newsroom’s soft opening on Sept. 26, students of Assistant Professor Miriam Berg’s studio production and video journalism class have been using it as their classroom, according to Cannaby.

The video wall showcases 18 news channels. Photo by Abdelmagid Adam.

The architect of the newsroom, Ali Wazani, is of Lebanese origin and worked previously on various TV set projects for Al Arabiya and other news outlets. The newsroom was then commissioned to Eye-Catching Design, a company based in the United Kingdom. After it built the components of the newsroom, the company shipped them over the Eid Al Adha holiday to Doha for assembly, according to Cannaby.

There are four key areas in the newsroom: a social media set, a video wall, a news desk and an interview area, Cannaby said.

The social media set allows a user to take feeds from multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, and convert them into graphics. The video wall showcases 18 news channels and streams weather shows, data visualizations, maps, and live feeds of events. The nontraditional news desk is a glass table that can fit up to three people. Behind the desk, printed graphics serve as the background of the set. Lastly, there is an interview area for a presenter and guests.

The news desk of the newsroom. Photo by Abdelmagid Adam.

The newsroom has 15 filming locations and uses five different colors of LED light, which represent five different show types, Cannaby explained, referring to breaking news, sports, entertainment, weather, and social media.

“The cameras are robotic. You do not need a camera person to operate them,” he said. Cameras move on tracks the way they do at professional news organizations with an automated newsroom, such as BBC World News. He added that in the previous NU-Q newsroom, at least six people were required to run a show but now only two students are needed.

Members of NU-Q were thrilled to utilize the new facility. “Students will be able to not only excel in learning the technology but experience a newsroom that not any other student could actually experience,” said Miriam Berg, an assistant professor of journalism in residence at NU-Q, whose class began using the newsroom in late September.

“This newsroom is a huge gift. It has the finest equipment and most up-to-date equipment in the world,” said Mary Dedinsky, director of the journalism and strategic communication program at NU-Q.

Haya Al-Mannai, a student in Berg’s course, said she and her classmates are “very lucky to be the first students to use the new newsroom and get to learn all about the broadcast sector.” Her classmates practice being “news anchors, social media presenters, and even get to experience the more technical stuff, such as being in the control room,” she said.

Another student in Berg’s course said he is thankful for the opportunity to use the newsroom. “As an aspiring journalist, I believe Northwestern is giving us a huge advantage over any other college or university graduates by giving us this newsroom,” said Mohamed Eledrisi, a junior journalism student at NU-Q.

Starting next year, NU-Q will offer several new courses that will be taught in the newsroom environment, such as classes on 360 degree video and podcast production, Dedinsky said.


Facebook Comments Box