Fox News is trying to bring TV news further into the digital age, where news runs 24/7 and updates are up-to-the-second, with its ambitious “Fox News Deck”. Comprised of a small sea of 55-inch touchscreen machines (called “BATS”, for “big area touchscreens”) and a 38-foot video wall, the whole brightly-lit setup looks like the deck of a spaceship.
The set is for Shepard Smith’s new show “Shepard Smith Reporting”, which will air at 3pm eastern and run into the evening. Conceived by Roger Ailes, the Fox News Deck allows workers at the BATS to pull in and organize news from across a variety of platforms--and they’ll be on camera the whole time. (Why would you spend big bucks to outfit your newsroom with 55-inch touchscreen desks and not put them on camera?)
The BATS screens can be put on TV at any time, and Smith also has a remote control of sorts that lets him manipulate the 38-foot video wall, clicking and dragging items on it to and fro in real time from all the items the BATS people are working on. In a sense, Smith gets his own customized and curated newsfeed to work with.
Also note that the 55-inch BATS appear to be running Windows 8. (And are we the only ones who think the worker bees look like tiny people using giant iPads?)
Here’s a video tour:
Fox thinks that this sort of setup will become the norm. There is something to that; news comes fast and furious these days, and indeed it comes via a number of avenues. Keeping it all straight is a huge task, and sifting through it will take a team of people and easy-to-use but nice-to-display technology. Whether or not Fox ends up with a perfect idea here or just a prototype for how things might go someday, it’s an interesting endeavor.