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November 2, 2016updated 03 Nov 2016 2:00pm

Glass box studio move shows Sky is investing in news ‘in a way that it’s never done in the past’

By Dominic Ponsford

The new “glass box” Sky News  studio signifies its parent company’s commitment and investment to the news channel, according to director of newsgathering Jonathan Levy.

Around 60 journalists and camera operators have left Sky News in recent months and the studio is entirely filmed by robotic cameras controlled remotely in a separate building.

But Levy said the changes are not about cost cutting.

He said: “This is very much an investment. When you go down and see the new studio you see there’s big investment from Sky going into Sky News.

“There are choices that we make along the way as we put resources into different things but we are very lucky that Sky continues to invest in Sky News and at the moment continues to invest in a way that it’s never done in the past.”

The studio for Sky News daytime programming moved to the glass box, in the centre of the vast new Sky Central building, last month.

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Most of the channel’s 500-odd journalists and technical staff are still based at the nearby silver Sky News building elsewhere at Osterley in West London.

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They will move to a new state-of-the-art studio at yet another building (pictured below) on the vast Sky corporate campus next summer.

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It is planned that the new studio will provide better integration between broadcast, web and social media output.

Levy (pictured below) said: “This building was put together when television was really the primary focus of Sky News. We are now a news organisation that works across all platforms and this move will embody that philosophy.

“The new newsroom will treat all platforms the same. Another part of it, in terms of the glass box and the studio at Sky Central, it’s about Sky News being very much part of Sky.

“There’s a big investment that’s going in from Sky, which is a real vindication of the journalism that we do, and the glass box at the centre of the new building is a reflection of that.”

Jonathan Levy

He added: “All the infrastructure here delivers to television first and then the other platforms feed off of that.

“The technology that we will have in the new newsroom will work differently. It will mean that the guys working on digital platforms can process material as quickly and effectively as the guys on TV.”

Sky News claims weekly viewing figures of 5.4m, up 4 per cent year on year, and weekly reach on mobile devices also of more than 5m.

But as with print media, it faces a continuing challenge engaging with younger viewers who are less likely to watch television news.

Levy said the broadcaster has a team producing videos for Facebook and also has journalists producing two daily text-based editions a day for the social messaging app Snapchat’s Discover platform.

Levy said: “We’ve invested so heavily in specialist journalism and in foreign journalism because that’s where we can be different.

“That’s where we can differentiate ourself from the guy with the smartphone and access to social media.

“What you are not going to get from the guy with the smartphone is the kind of analysis on the economy that Ed Conway can provide, or the sort of coverage from Mosul that Stuart Ramsay’s been delivering, or analysis from Faisal on politics or Tom Chesire on technology.

“That’s where we can be different  and distinct. Yes the technology has lowered the barrier to entry hugely, but the expertise and the ability to make sense of all this content and what’s going on in an increasingly complicated world – that’s what we offer.”

 

 

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