Newsroom CMS wish list

September 18, 2011 § 12 Comments

Old Typewriter

Because publishing with our current CMS sometimes feels like typewriting.

I am currently researching CMS vendors for our newspaper. Here I’ve compiled a wish list of features I would like our future CMS to have.

I’m hoping readers will add to this post via the comment section. And if my any item on my list of features needs more details or clarification, I hope that is brought to my attention too. I will update the post with suggestions, etc.

Our current CMS, which is unofficially called Depot, was built by a web developer at our sister newspaper in Yakima, WA. It is built on the Ruby on Rails open-source framework. We decided to go with them after using TownNews for about 10 years. At the time of our switch in late 2009, one of our biggest needs was a paywall. I won’t go into the decision behind the paywall but I will say that we have been able to grow our traffic despite it. I’ll leave a more in-depth analysis of our paywall including hurdles, successes and failures for a later post.

I recently sat in on a webinar with the folks at EllingtonCMS, which is based on the Django framework, and John Hill has volunteered to offer some feedback as he has had some experience with them (thanks John, going to shoot you an email on Monday.) And I will mostly likely ask for a presentation of TownNews’ Blox CMS.

In my following list I will indicate what features EllingtonCMS (E) has at least based on what I took away from the webinar they presented.

I’m hoping to use whatever comments or feedback this post generates to help me and our newspaper make an informed decision. If you’ve got any experience with any of the aforementioned CMS or frameworks, please, please share your thoughts. I also welcome any recommendation for other solutions like WordPress, Drupal and…..

In no particular order of importance:

  • mapping/geodata
  • tagging
  • robust commenting (threaded, voting, etc.) E
  • video platform E
  • blogging E
  • recommended reading lists E
  • most read/shared/emailed lists E
  • community – registration, avatars, badges, ratings E
  • story highlights
  • read later/favorite queue
  • liveblogging
  • social media API integration
  • flexible/modular templates E
  • data import/data visualization
  • email newsletters and SMS alerts E
  • mobile and tablet optimization E
  • integrated payment system for online/print subscriptions E
 Flickr image by Andrew Taylor.


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