Making NNL a Digital Communications Portal for the region

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iconsTHUNDER BAY – Editorial – Here we grow again. In offering a little history, as a teen, our family moved to Thunder Bay from Winnipeg. My dad was told ‘subscribe to the Chronicle Journal for local news, and the Globe and Mail for the rest of the news”. As an avid reader, having those two newspapers as a teen was great. When I returned to Thunder Bay, being a complete newshound, I realized that the Internet in our region allowed for far greater opportunity for news and information than ever before.

NetNewsledger.com was born. The goal was providing engagement between regional elected representatives and the people, providing positive ideas and vision through our editorials, and getting information out to readers.

NetNewsledger.com started on a new journey last July. The site was upgraded to a new look. We were on a new server, and we upgraded the server. We have invested time, talent and treasure into making NNL a digital communications portal for the region. That has included creating and investing in new technology for our HD Livestream+ © live Internet broadcasting. That is only a first step however into a brave new digital world.

This week, the process of growth continues. We have upgraded to a new dedicated server with twice the capacity of our previous server. Our team has invested in the latest technology for improving our HD Livestream+ © broadcasting capability.

Live broadcast video of entire events in our region allows you to tune in and get the whole story. It is our belief that giving you ‘full access’ to information allows you to form your own opinions on important issues of the day. It is making, in our view our democracy more open – a digital democracy.

Over the past several years, NNL has taken a leadership role in that effort and we have been assisted by many groups. The City of Thunder Bay allowed us to test live-streaming of city council meetings from the Italian Cultural Centre while City Hall was being renovated. Today, you can tune in on www.thunderbay.ca and watch the live broadcasts.

The Aboriginal Liaison Office has allowed us to stream some of their events.

In live-streaming Open House meetings for the Waterfront and more recently for Event Centre we have helped take those meetings to a wider audience.

Panasonic AG-HPX250We have worked with NOMA and Lakehead University to offer HD Livestream+ © broadcasts of events.

We have been working closely with Shaw TV Thunder Bay Channel Ten here in Thunder Bay. Without the help of Raymond and his Shaw team here in Thunder Bay, we would not have been able to develop the new processes we have to continue to offer you top quality live coverage of events.

Our first major HD Livestream+ © broadcast was from the Valhalla Inn. We broadcast the NOMA Northern Leaders Debate to a live audience of over 1000 viewers. It was a test of our new capabilities and we exceeded our expections.

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In March, at Lakehead University, the Lakehead University Native Students Association and NetNewsledger came together to offer cover to cover live coverage of the LUNSA Pow Wow. Over 4000 individual viewers tuned in from across the North and around the world. On Saturday, more people were tuned in online to the NNL coverage than were tuned into one of the major US cable networks. With co-operation from Lakehead University and Elder Calvin Ottertail, we were able to take our community to the world. It is really exciting to be doing things never done in our region before!

Those events proved to our team that taking entire events live works. It allows a specialty broadcast of events that broadcast television wouldn’t cover. From there we started the process of researching what is needed to make the process even better.

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The concept of live-streaming over the Internet isn’t something new. Many lap-top computers come with built-in cameras. There are many free services out there, like ustream.tv that even include free software that allows anyone to do virtually instant broadcasts. Our research brought us to several conclusions, first that top-quality cameras that allow HD were needed. Second that we want the capability for multiple camera shots so that our Internet Broadcasts are as close to live television as possible.

Such conclusions, only a few years ago would have cost tens of thousands of dollars if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. However letting technology do much of the heavy lifting we have invested in a Panasonic AG-HPX250PJ camera, and a portable broadcast studio. The AG-HPX250 is Panasonic’s first P2 HD handheld camcorder with master-quality 10-bit, 4:2:2 independent-frame, 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra 100 recording. This lightweight, ergonomic-designed camcorder incorporates high-sensitivity 1/3″, full-HD 2.2 megapixel 3-MOS imagers and a 20-bit Digital Signal Processor to capture stunning high resolution images.

We have invested in new software that allows the broadcast to come to your computer screen or smart device in a compressed format so that even in the far North where there still are Internet capacity issues, those broadcasts will not slow an entire community’s Internet. Additionally, one of the changes we are making is to put in place our own media server that will allow broadcasts to be viewed in higher quality and greater definition than ever before.

This entire process is, for us, only a beginning. Nothing we are doing would be possible without your readership/viewership and your support.

Over the coming weeks and months, NetNewsledger will be working in our community and in our region to bring you complete broadcasts of live events.

It is a real privilege when you make NetNewsledger.com a part of your day, and on behalf of our team, once again, Thank You, Meegwetch, Merci, Kiitos, Grazie, and Tika hoki!

James Murray
Chief Content Officer

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NetNewsledger.com or NNL offers news, information, opinions and positive ideas for Thunder Bay, Ontario, Northwestern Ontario and the world. NNL covers a large region of Ontario, but are also widely read around the country and the world. To reach us by email: newsroom@netnewsledger.com Reach the Newsroom: (807) 355-1862