Newspaper Digital Asset Management Customer: Alan Youngblood

Digital asset management file photo from The New York Time Regional Media Group. Photo by The New York Times Regional Media GroupI recently spoke with Alan Youngblood, one of digital asset management customers. Alan is Photo Coordinator for the New York Times Regional Media Group and Photo Editor at the Star-Banner. Alan discusses how the regional newspaper group owned by The New York Times uses its Merlin digital asset management system (DAM).

Rande Simpson: How long has The New York Times Regional Media Group had the Merlin digital asset management System?
Alan Youngblood: The Regional Media Group system has been using the Merlin DAM for about 6 months. Other individual properties, owned by The New York Times Regional Media Group, have been using the digital asset management system for many years.

Rande Simpson: How long have you been using the Merlin DAM?
Alan Youngblood: I’ve been using the Merlin DAM for about the same amount of time – 6 months.

Rande Simpson: What kind of assets do you store in your Merlin?
Alan Youngblood: We keep stills, video and graphics in or Merlin digital asset management system.

Rande Simpson: How do you use the Merlin system?
Alan Youngblood: How we use the digital asset managemnet system varies. Some papers, that previously had no archives (or very poor archives), use the DAM as the center of their visual universe. In Ocala and Gainesville, for example, its not just an archive but a daily Picture Desk as well. For other properties that already have Merlin or some other Picture Desk in place, they use the centralized Merlin to share images with the rest of the group on a case-by-case basis.

Rande Simpson: How has the Merlin digital asset management system helped your organization?
Alan Youngblood: Our use of the digital asset management system has organized and streamlined the production of our products. With the Merlin in place, everyone has a centralized location to get whatever visual assets they need for whatever product – rather than having to treasure hunt through a variety of file servers and volumes.

Rande Simpson: How does this system help you save time and/or money?
Alan Youngblood: While I don’t have any specific time/motion studies that quantify motion saved and money saved, it seems obvious that there is certainly an efficiency gained by looking for visuals in one place rather than five places.

Rande Simpson: Have there been any interesting projects that your Merlin digital asset management system was used on that you wish to share?
Alan Youngblood: In general when using the digital asset management system, it’s much easier to find things across our group that are of interest. Earlier this year, when tornados hit in Alabama, Tuscaloosa contributed great art to the system that everyone had instant access too. Lately Gainesville’s coverage of the fires in Florida have been available to all of us in the system.

Rande Simpson: Is your digital asset management system hosted or managed by internal IT staffs?
Alan Youngblood: We use a hosted digital asset management system (SaaS), so we don’t require internal IT people to look after it.

Another digital asset management file photo from The New York Time Regional Media Group. Photo by The New York Times Regional Media GroupRande Simpson: How many users access your digital asset management system?
Alan Youngblood: Oh geeze, that’s a big number. The editorial staffs of 14 newspapers are using the Merlin digital asset management system, so I’d have to guess several hundred.

Rande Simpson: Is the Merlin system used only internally, or do you allow access outside of your organization?
Alan Youngblood: Only internal staff members of The New York Times Regional Media Group use the Merlin digital asset management system.

Posted by Rande Simpson
Photos by The New York Times Regional Media Group

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