Many column inches have been expended on the subject of high tech news rooms which these days feature expensive remote robotic camera systems that do smooth pre-programmed camera moves.

When things run smoothly in the newsroom then nobody wonders if it might be best to return to the good old days when cameras were actually operated by camera operators.

But judging by recent events in the BBC’s £1bn Broadcasting House refurb, where the BBC’s high tech newsroom is located, things don’t always run smoothly.

The internet is being populated with a growing number of clips which you might expect to see on You’ve Been Framed rather than the newsroom of a public service broadcaster.

But the BBC isn’t the only newsroom which has experienced problems with robotic cameras as this clip shows. 

Apparently the BBC’s newsroom problems are all down to the occasional hiccups which occur when the BBC’s ENPS news management system attempts to communicate with Mosart, the computer programme that controls the cameras.

Potentially the situation could get worse when the BBC introduces its new replacement for ENPS, with two news management systems running side by side for a time before ENPS is retired.

Here the slightly opaque BBC response to what is happening. “The BBC is undertaking a procurement for a Newsroom Computer System under the Public Contracts Regulations (2006), having advertised in the Official Journal of the EU, reference 2013/S 174-300782.

“The BBC is not able to comment further on this procurement until the completion of that process. This is because the BBC must not do anything that might adversely affect that ongoing process, and due to commercial confidentiality.”

Basically “can’t tell you… its a secret”.

In the interim we should just reflect that technology might make things cheaper, but it doesn’t always make things better.


David Wood

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