Using data to stimulate collaboration

MM: My wife has a business in which she coaches solo practitioners and owners of small professional and business services. Specifically, she has really mastered the art of how to market yourself as a provider of personal or business services—from real estate brokers to life coaches to massage therapists. Her work makes it clear that many business people become paralyzed in terms of, “How do I really create engaging multimedia content that expresses my vision, values, what I offer that stands unique and valued?” This just goes to the fact that creating engaging multimedia content constitutes hard work and few have mastered it.

James, the mission for your creative service and production shop means that you think about how to improve the creativity of your group’s work in print,which is the core of your business, as well as the online and broadcast portions. Would you take us through some of the changes that you’ve encountered in the creative process, its tooling and, perhaps, the workflows of how to manage the multimedia dimension of most creative and production?

JK: Sure. Well, let’s take a step back 3.5 years ago. A creative services artist would do a special section for—let’s say—breast cancer awareness or some such item. It would be done in print, in a vacuum. It would be stored and backed up on CDs and put in a cabinet.

So the next year when someone was looking for it, you’d have to sort through all the CDs, think about who did it, and maybe you could find it in an hour because there were another 200 CDs in there, and they weren’t labeled properly, et cetera.

Fast-forward 3.5 years. Boy, a lot has happened!

Now when you’re doing that breast cancer awareness section in Adobe InDesign, I think we’re just starting to create this mindset where, as you’re doing the section for print, you’re thinking about, “How can I bring that section to life on the Web?”

“The components and the elements that I’m using in print—what else can I do online that can’t be expressed in print?”

For example—maybe there are some statistics on breast cancer awareness that tie back to a database. Maybe we incorporate videos in the interactive piece. So we’re using tools like Adobe InDesign and the Creative Suite to help us do that.

Up until a few months ago, you’d have to do that section in InDesign, and you pretty much had to think out of the box and start all over again in Flash. Now Adobe InDesign allows you to export the InDesign document to Flash, and take your work and make it come to life on the Web. We’re extremely excited about that.

The digital part of this is you’re working and creating, using these wonderful tools, and on the DAM side, it can go into a DAM like Cumulus where not only can the artist and their colleagues see it, and if the managing editor wants to see this and look at it from her desktop—to make suggestions? It’s all right there.

That’s an area where I told you it would take two hours to find a CD or a DVD from a couple of years ago. Now if you type in metadata that has “breast cancer awareness,” you’ll find the needle in the haystack in seconds, literally.

These are some of the things that we’re thinking about with taking that print content and repurposing it for Newsday.com.

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