relay1Say what you will about the government, but it might have just changed how we think of breaking news platforms. Go figure.

The Office of Digital and Design Innovation at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has released Relay, a mobile first platform for real-time reporting.

It’s interesting from both the backend and the consumer’s experience. In terms of the CMS, it’s not hard to train reporters how to use it, according to Randy Abramson, Director of Audio and Video Projects at the BBG. Reporters in the field submit content via email, by including the content type (text, video, audio) and the designated hashtag for a story in the subject line. Says Abramson, “then you just include your message in the email and it’s filtered through the system.”

Editors can also assign multiple permissions and stories. Some content, like a video interview, can be published immediately. Other breaking news content will be sent to a queue to be reviewed, verified, and fact checked. Says Abramson:

Fact checking is a definite concern for the BBG and our services….At the same time, there are a lot of types of stories that don’t have to go through the same type of fact checking as a breaking news story. If you’re covering SXSW or something, you can  publish very quickly.relay-mandela-death-pakistan2

For the news consumer, it’s easy to follow breaking, real-time reporting. Each story has a unique URL, so you don’t have to already be following Voice of America, for example, or download an app. Instead of searching through various social media feeds for info, it’s all collected on the Relay site.

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