In March 2015, the Star Tribune completed the relocation of its headquarters from a building that had been its home for 95 years to three floors in the newly renamed Star Tribune building in downtown Minneapolis. The Star Tribune is Minnesota’s largest news organization with over 250 journalists who staff the newsroom around the clock.
Given the opportunity to look towards the future, the Star Tribune partnered with HGA Architects to create new offices that incorporated the needs of a 21st century news organization. Because the news organization hosts important visitors from all walks of politics, business and community, an essential component to the new design was a lobby and a News Hub that welcomes, impresses and informs visitors and employees.
The lobby includes a 1x3 LED video wall to provide news and information. The News Hub contains a 1x4 LED video wall and an eye-catching central column with eleven LED screens to provide easy viewing of breaking news in all directions.
To provide content for these screens, the Star Tribune and HGA turned to systems integrator Alpha Video & Audio, Inc. in Eden Prairie, MN who recommend the installation of a TriplePlay HD IPTV distribution system and CastNET digital signage.
The TriplePlay server encodes 62 cable TV channels supplied by a Comcast Cable TV headend. The Cable TV content is distributed via the company’s network infrastructure to the screens on the News Hub column.
CastNET manages content for the two video walls and the digital signs installed throughout the three floors and in the newspaper printing plant located in a separate location. CastNET feeds into the TriplePlay server so digital signage messages can be viewed on any of the screens on the central column and on desktop computers and mobile devices.
When the digital signage system was designed, the main objectives were to have a place to showcase news and photography along with providing timely information to employees. The digital signage includes a main zone with information and an L-bar zone that provides a Star Tribunes RSS news feed and weather reports. The news feed scrolls continuously along the bottom of the screens. Since the installation, the Star Tribune has found the digital signage to be a very effective way to welcome and recognize guests, visitors and advertisers who visit the headquarters.
The Star Tribune consulted with the in-house CastNET design agency, Alpha Video Creative, to design specific templates for the 1x3 and 1x4 video walls. The 1x3 video wall shows pictures taken by the company’s photo-journalists. The video wall template allows a few words to be easily super-imposed over the pictures that are randomly arranged into new patterns every time they are displayed. The 1x4 video wall is often used as the background when a news video is being produced by the news department.
All of this technology helps to establish the Star Tribune as a news organization that’s ready for the 21st century.