The Newsroom for the Department of Journalism at City, University of London was completed in May 2018.
The space has been designed to accommodate four groups of six students on each table, this is to meet one of the key activities which is the Newsday, which involves students working within their specific groups or in Journalism context, their four channels collaborating on the same story, divided into radio, tv, online and print.
Adopting the pedagogic design term of the ’Mentor in the Centre’ the newsroom is laid out from a central hub, where the academic is based, that desk is connected with a touch-screen LCD display and control interface for all screens in the room. Other sources include a ceiling-mounted visualiser, and an integrated PC with HDMI connection for laptops as well as the option for wireless connectivity. The space is capable of providing content on multiple channels integrating the complete news flow across print and digital media from planning to production. Students work on tables with integrated computers, sharing to a local 55” LCD screen and speakers. These all-in-one PC’s can be lowered to create a flat desk space for other activities or using their own devices.
We looked at wireless presentation and sharing products before settling on the V-Solution system from Wolfvision. Makers of visualisers and document cameras, this system is also a matrix across IP, so content can be presented and shared from different sources, including a ceiling mounted visualiser, which can capture items on the teacher’s desk and be shared across the room. This was a cost-effective solution as it reduced the demand for wired network ports and local switching equipment at each table. As well as content sharing from mobile devices, students can send their content from each PC to the group table seen here on the large touch screen, this can then be controlled by the academic staff and again shared across the space.
With the wireless solution from Wolfvision, the space is specifically designed to allow people to bring in their personal technology and to share their content wirelessly by using the V-Solution app. They can also connect their laptops into the matrix system via HDMI and USB direct into the shared LCD screen.
Aside from the technology, we felt that our students would need to feel confident that they can work or converse in this potentially noisy open plan environment without being too distracted or intimidated. So, the control of acoustics is vital, we asked the architects to include sound absorption treatment to the ceiling as well as controllable lighting for local users. We also provided breakout spaces for one-to-one discussion with academic and students, for creative thinking, reflection and more private discussions when needed.
As well as the main group study area in The Newsroom, we have created zones for a green screen TV studio, for students to shoot ‘pieces to camera’ and ‘talking heads’ with a link through to the main TV studio. Similarly, there is a new radio studio with an adjoining control room, where content can be broadcast to the Newsroom via the Dante audio system.
There are also two more informal areas within the space, a high table and stools for huddle activities with student team leaders. Behind, there is a large video wall broadcasting live feeds from a OneLan system of IPTV, this can easily be switched off to remove that distraction for teaching, but it is there as an external news source and to invoke a sense of connectivism with the outside world.
The previous media rooms were set out over 10 years ago in a traditional teaching form. The rooms were in siloes, with serried ranks of desks that do not resemble the professional collaborative workspace of journalism nor do they allow for group work nor effective facilitation by the academic staff. The academic vision was for a contemporary space for learning and teaching that’s modeled on a broadcast newsroom, one that’s designed for multiple channels by integrating the workflow across TV, radio, online and print. This would enable the department to embrace contemporary pedagogic approaches for the development of craft skills through guided experiential learning.
This project has successfully created a space with opportunities for a rich student experience that supports the learning and teaching of journalistic skills, which are seen as essential for the interconnected world of today and tomorrow. In the Newsroom the emphasis is on replicating the professional workplace, where students will produce newspaper articles, magazines pieces and TV and radio programmes about live issues. These exercises develop group working and time management skills. In addition, having a showcase Newsroom utilising innovative technologies is a unique selling point for the department when it comes to attracting future students.
The Newsroom at City
Best Flexible Space Experience
City, University of London