Built tool to help journalists report live - Schibsted Tech Polska
John Einar Sandvand
Communications Manager - product & tech
Published April 28, 2015

Built tool to help journalists report live

It used to be technically challenging to set up. Now journalists in the Norwegian media house Adresseavisen can start live coverage of a big news event in a matter of minutes.

When the big news happens every second counts for professional journalists. Readers are quick to click to the news sites for the latest updates – and have little patience to wait for articles to be written.

They want to know what happens now. Live! With no delay.

– Live reporting is increasingly important in our editorial work, says John Sund, project manager in Adresseavisen, the major media house in the Norwegian city Trondheim.

Polaris Media, with Adresseavisen as the largest media house in its portfolio, has cooperated with Schibsted Tech Polska since 2012 and now has 10 developers working in Krakow.

Tool for live reporting

The latest project has been to build a completely new tool for live coverage of news. The live tool is closely integrated with Escenic, the content management system used by the journalists in Adresseavisen.

With the tool a journalist can easily start a live news feed from his mobile phone in a couple of minutes. The feed can consist of text, images, video and more – and easily be embedded anywhere on the website of Adresseavisen.

The newsroom had been using a solution from a third party vendor for live reporting. But this had many challenges. It took time to set up a live feed, all the content was stored on the servers of the vendor and not in Adresseavisen´s own database and the solution was not very mobile-friendly.

Polaris Live

– So we created Polaris Live, says team leader Maciej Dragan.

New live events can be created and updated from anywhere.  For the reader the content is updated in real-time – and he/she can view it on any device. The journalist can both compose his/her own content, or bring in and curate content from social media.

– It is a stand-alone product, which can be used with any CMS. But it is also deeply integrated with our setup of Escenic, Dragan explains.

A live event can consist of several feeds put together to a page with all the latest news, including a questions and answers feed.

The tool can be used for a variety of situations: The big drama news with continuous development, soccer games, big cultural events, etc.

Every day the Polaris team has video standups with colleagues in Trondheim, Norway. Photo: John Einar Sandvand

Every day the Polaris team has video standups with colleagues in Trondheim, Norway. Photo: John Einar Sandvand

Integration with CMS

The integration with Escenic was very important for Adresseavisen.  The CMS is one of the most important tools used daily by the journalists, and the editors wanted a solution that was closely integrated with what they already had.

The actual live creation happens in Polaris Live, but the editors manage where to place the feed on the website in Escenic.

– The whole architecture is very modularized. This means that even though the backend is developed in Java, the tool can easily be reused by a media house primarily working with for instance PHP, says Maciej Dragan.

Check the developers blog

Team chose technology

Dragan says it was a very challenging and interesting project for the team.

– We were given a lot of freedom, both in choosing technology, architecture and how to implement the solution.  This was a great inspiration for us as developers, he says.

Some of the technologies used include:

  • Java REST API backend: Maven, Java 8, Hibernate, Spring, REST, MariaDB,
  • Admin panel: NPM, Gulp, AngularJS, Responsive design
  • Other: Close integration with Escenic

Dragan explains the team always uses the Scrum methodology when developing new products. This includes two week development sprints as well as daily video stand-ups with the product owner and tech lead in Norway. In addition the colleagues in Krakow and Trondheim are in continuous contact by chat.

Maciej Szczytowski Mateusz Szczepaniak Marcin Wagner Tomasz Kępa Maciej Dragan

The Polaris Live team (from left): Marcin Wagner, Maciej Dragan,Mateusz Szczepaniak and Maciej Szczytowski. Tomasz Kępa was not available when the photo was taken.

Close cooperation

– Our cooperation with the team in Krakow has been very good. In fact it has really been a fun period, says project manager John Sund.

– And we are very happy with the new tool. In fact it is one of the most powerful publishing tools we have ever developed. By developing it ourselves we have also a tool that is much more tailor-made for our own needs.

The kickoff for the project was at the Norwegian island Hitra, where the team had the chance to try ocean fishing and get a feel of the windy weather on the coast of Norway.

The Norwegian colleagues, as seen from the video room in Krakow. Photo: John Einar Sandvand

The Norwegian colleagues, as seen from the video room in Krakow. Project manager John Sund to the left. Photo: John Einar Sandvand

Communications Manager - product & tech
Published April 28, 2015