Thursday, October 11, 2018

Digits out

BBC News' tv output reeled, staggered and stuttered yesterday, as servers running newsroom software OpenMedia failed. OpenMedia holds the key scripts and running orders, which in turn drive robotic cameras, graphics and video playout, etc. The News Channel resorted to an hour's repeat, as techies scratched their heads in the gallery; the Six and Ten O'Clock bulletins were shifted to the BBC's Millbank studios in Westminster, and their opening sequences simplified.

The BBC is famously risk averse when it comes to new newsroom software. The contract to replace the old ENPS with OpenMedia was signed with Annova, head-quartered in Germany, back in February 2015, and the roll-out has been tortoise-like. Servers running the same software around the country and abroad were unaffected, but there'll be alarm that automatic fall-back options within Broadcasting House didn't work.

Intrepid hacks Fiona Bruce and Mark Easton misjudged London's tea-time traffic flows. They first hailed a taxi, then flagged down a police car, to complete the 2.1 mile journey from BH to Millbank.

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