Carol Bettencourt, Vice President of Marketing, Chyron
Access to great training resources is a must in live broadcast production, where — thanks to both historical factors and modern pressures — it can be difficult to attract, maintain, and retain talent.
Turnover has long been an issue, particularly in news production, where a first job in television is an exciting idea for many people, but not a lasting proposition for all. People move on, or they move up into new and different roles as they build skills and experience. Training has always been a central element of that natural progression. And today, with the global labor shortage making it more difficult to fill entry-level positions, it is all the more important as inexperienced team members are brought on board.
The recent uptick in mergers and acquisitions across the industry has led to increased consolidation of businesses and workflows, and this trend likewise has driven the need for ongoing training. As groups of talented people come together, training can play a critical role in ensuring that more experienced engineering teams across the entire organization can work together effectively — using the same technologies — to drive production workflows. In this sense, training can help to eliminate silos that limit collaboration and creativity.
Training also can help a workforce, and an organization as a whole, to embrace new tools and new ways of working, which in turn allows for greater agility. On a day-to-day basis, this may mean greater flexibility in taking a live broadcast to air. In the larger scheme of things, it also can mean being able to pivot smoothly in response to new opportunities and challenges.
Addressing Change and Opportunity
The transition to digital, increasing adoption of automated processes, and the use of AI to drive efficiencies across operations — all of these trends have opened up fresh opportunity for the modern broadcast operation. And significant challenges, the most notable of which has been a global pandemic, have pushed broadcasters, production, and postproduction companies to transform, implementing and refining remote workflows to get content ready for air. Using REMI and distributed workflows, supported by cloud-based technology, they found ways to do their work remotely, sometimes using the same equipment they used before and sometimes using virtualized versions of those tools.
Solutions for live production make it easier than ever for graphics designers, journalists, and other users to tell compelling stories, and the rise of distributed workflows allows them to contribute from anywhere. For example, Chyron’s AXIS on-demand graphics order management, design, and animation system allows an artist at one broadcast station to answer graphics requests from journalists across the larger station group — even if that artist is logging in and working from home. The hub-and-spoke model of Chyron’s MOS-driven CAMIO newsroom graphics management system and tools such as AXIS can actually extend beyond the station walls.
Across broadcast, production, and postproduction, implementation of distributed workflows and REMI production has allowed organizations to leverage their teams more effectively — and often more cost-effectively — to meet the needs of different projects and workflows. Whether for one-off live events or ongoing production work, they can source talent from across the country, and even across the globe. This flexibility enables employers to hire just the right person for a job, regardless of where they live or work, and the option of remote work is often a key selling point for high-value job candidates who can’t or don’t want to travel or commute for work.
As participation in production and postproduction workflows becomes increasingly accessible, thanks to remote and distributed models supported by cloud-based technologies, training takes on new importance. It helps a creative without experience get a foot in the door. It enables broadcasters to find potential employees with the skills to step in and contribute. It empowers people working in the field to take their skills to the next level.
Accessible training on the latest software helps to bridge the skills gap so evident today. And, when training is provided by a software vendor in a structured manner, it provides a credible reference for employers looking to promote or hire. That’s the free training and professional development resource that Chyron brings to the industry with the Chyron Academy.
The Chyron Academy Training Model
While most organizations see the value in providing ongoing training for their employees, the conventional approach to the task has been less than desirable. In the case of a new product installation or implementation, a company typically would fly in an expert, who might spend anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks getting the appropriate team up to speed. After some time, that same expert might return for a follow-up, or to give a repeat training for new hires. In addition to being expensive, this training model was a poor fit for busy people working in a fast-paced news environment.
Training conducted by peers has had the benefit of being less costly — and, in theory, the trainer in this scenario has a keen understanding of the environment and knows exactly what needs to be done. In some cases, such a colleague can be an exceptional source of knowledge and a highly effective instructor. Even when that’s true, however, it’s unreasonable to expect that even the best peer-trainer can take enough time away from other duties to be sure that every detail is covered and understood.
While Chyron provides training and support with all of its solutions, the company has tackled the ongoing training challenge from a different angle, offering structured, in-depth training about how to use Chyron products through its Chyron Academy. For broadcasters and production companies, the academy offers a simple way to train staff, anywhere and at any time, without incurring additional costs. For participants, it’s an opportunity to build expertise and a sample portfolio, a difficult task without actual time on the job.
Chyron Academy began by supplying online training videos in a logical order that would lead the viewer from beginner to expert. Today, participants in this free certification program gain access to the latest Chyron software, which they use to learn and practice new skills introduced in a self-paced online curriculum created by product experts.
Choosing from courses on software including PRIME designer, PAINT telestration and illustrated replay, and AXIS graphics, Chyron Academy participants build their skills using the same tools that professionals rely on to produce some of the world’s best-known live news and sports broadcasts. (Courses on Chyron LIVE, Click Effects, and PRIME Switcher also are available, with more being added all the time, as is a program on remote production.) Through graded quizzes, examples of their work in the software, and eventual certification as a “black belt,” participants demonstrate their proficiency with the software and pave the way toward a future in live production.
Since the academy was founded in 2020, more than 5,000 people have taken courses. Hundreds of people have earned certifications at basic and intermediate levels across all products covered by Chyron Academy. Some have used the training to help them succeed on an existing career path, while others have leveraged their new skills and certification to become Chyron interns, freelancers for Chyron Creative Services, and freelancers for Chyron customers.
While this highly accessible model for training and certification significantly improves on conventional approaches to staff training, particularly in terms of cost and comprehensiveness, it also addresses and embraces new ways of working. Making it easier to train new staff and keep employees current on the latest features and capabilities of vital software tools, many of which facilitate more automated, agile, and efficient live production workflows, Chyron Academy helps broadcasters and production companies succeed in today’s dynamic, and often challenging, business environment.