Newspaper Digital Asset Management Customer: Jeff Rickman

Downtown Portland Oregon from DAM customer The Oregonian. Photo by The Oregonian staffThis week I sat down with Jeff Rickman, an IT staffer of The Oregonian. The Oregonian is a Portland, Oregon area paper with local and national news, sports, opinion, food, home, and travel. Jeff agreed to talk with me about his experience using the MerlinOne digital asset management system.

Rande Simpson: Hi Jeff, how long has The Oregonian had the MerlinOne digital asset management system?
Jeff Rickman: We have had the Merlin system for about 12 years. We held off implementing it until some of the early bugs were worked out. We have been using Merlin for the past ten years to store all of our photos. We added our stories, graphics, and photo requests 6 years ago and are now talking about adding videos as well.

Rande Simpson: In general, what kind of assets do you store in your Merlin?
Jeff Rickman: We currently store photos, graphics, and stories and will soon store videos. We also store PDFs of every page of our publications and the obituaries that come out of our advertising system.

Rande Simpson: How do you use the Merlin system?
Jeff Rickman: Merlin is now the center of all of our production. Nothing gets in the paper without going through the Merlin first. We also us the Trax assignment management portion of Merlin to keep track of all of our photo, video, and graphics requests. We have a back copies desk that looks up stories for customers to assist in finding the original hard copy. We also use Merlin to help support three different identities. We have the newsroom, our advertorial group and now one of our sister companies. Each identity is not allowed to see the others stuff, unless the items are tagged to restrict viewing.

Rande Simpson: How has the Merlin digital asset management system helped your organization?
Jeff Rickman: Merlin has enabled us to keep all of our archiving in one spot. It allows different departments to have access to the same photo without trying to find it in a directory structure. Since we are hosted, we now have access to everything anywhere. The system allows us to export photos and text straight to third parties as long as the third party has an ftp site.

Rande Simpson: How does the system help you save time and/or money?
Jeff Rickman: The biggest time savings is in organization. Since we are only able to store what we need for publication, we still need to store stuff locally on DVDs and external hard drives.

Rande Simpson: Is your digital asset management system hosted (SaaS) or managed by internal IT staffs?
Jeff Rickman: We just went hosted. The best thing about being in the cloud is that we can get to the system from anywhere. The downside is that it’s really hard to trouble shoot issues. I supported Merlin for 9 years and in that time I knew the system in and out. Now when I have to do troubleshooting, I don’t have access to the logs, or the database like I used to.

DAM customer The Oregonian access their photos with the Merlin DAM. Photo by The Oregonian staffRande Simpson: How many users access your digital asset management system?
Jeff Rickman: We have about 200 people who access the Merlin system either through the client or the web.

Rande Simpson: Is the Merlin system used only internally, or do you allow access outside of your organization?
Jeff Rickman: Right now we don’t allow anyone from outside our organization to have access to our system.

Posted by Rande Simpson
Photos by The Oregonian staff

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