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Changing over to an Internet-based CMS for publication: Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Central-KY-Kid, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Along with KySportsWriter (aside: Yankees Suck!), I work at a six-day LCNI.

    Currently, we utilize a ACT Editorial/Falcon managing system with MS Word to write stories, do agate, code AP/Scripps wire stuff, etc. For the most part, there are few problems.

    Now we are switching over to an internet-based Content Managing System (CMS).

    The advantages of the CMS way seem to be these:

    - Journalists can directly upload their articles into the server

    - Photogs can easily attach photos to the article for Web upload

    - When files are uploaded to the Web, google and yahoo search engines will pick up on it much more easily. Currently, a lot of our stuff never makes it to google news' search engine although we are a daily.

    - Files can be easily be made live for the Web site with the click of the button. Currently, we have to copy the article off of the Quark page, save it to a text file and upload it through a townnews.com server

    The disadvantages of the CMS way seem to be these:

    - No current way for doing standings, statistics leaders and glances. Currently, templates for prep sports are already saved. For AP stuff (glances, stat leaders), we utilitize a one-button macro that fixes it. This is a godsend for the guy who has the late high school game and has to do the baseball or agate page when he gets back

    - No more template Use. Right now, our Author Name, E-mail, Body Copy and Contact Author style sheets are already set up in Word. Just copy the Word document, rename it and voila. With the CMS, the Author Name, E-mail and body copy are all in separate boxes.

    - Quark pages are about to take A LOT more time. Take for instance the baseball page. Currently all the designer has to do is code the AP'S NL Capsules, AL Capsules, the boxscores for the night (which take less than 30 seconds per box) and both AL and NL glances (which take 30 seconds each). Throw in downloading and working a photo (and cutline) and the page can be laid from scratch (excluding dropping template on) in 15 minutes. With the CMS, you have to open up each file, copy and paste into Quark, close out the file and repeat with EACH text item.

    - Archiving Internet items or making them non-live just got a whole lot harder/time consuming. Say we have six local stories for the internet. After they're saved to .TXT files (Notepad), you click on the Web upload program (in our case, FileZilla), enter the sports subfolder of the Web site, kill off all the old files by grabbing them all with the mouse cursor and hitting delete and drop the six new files into the folder. With the CMS, we have to go into each of those files and click on "archive". No way to archive them all at once. A special sports tab, such as our 15-story spring baseball/softball preview or the 20+ story football tab will take quite a while to archive.

    - No personal/community files easy to get to, such as rosters, contact lists, schedules. All of those will have to be kept on each of our desktops. Right now, if I need to check the name of some tennis kid, all I have to do is click on the Sports Team Tab and then open up the Rosters.DOC document.

    After me, KYSportsWriter and another colleague met with our CMS clinicians for about 45 minutes today, none of us felt good about the situation. We have switched how we do things about three times in my eight years here, but none of them were as complicated as this.

    When I first started, I could code a baseball boxscore or NFL/NBA/NHL glances/stat leaders with our green-and-black Tandys (with our floppy drives and no net access) and bring it into Quark correctly modified faster than I can now. Managing Editor, who already cut one hour from our deadline in the last two years, doesn't seem to care.

    We're barely making deadline as it is.
  2. mdpoppy

    mdpoppy Member

    What CMS are you using? If you go through Clickability, a lot of your issues about standings and archiving could be solved. I'm assuming your shop already has something in mind -- if not, PM me.
  3. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    It's one through LCNI, so I doubt that'll help us.
  4. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    This is what we're dealing with:

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  5. mdpoppy

    mdpoppy Member

    Looks nasty ... html editors are the worst thing in CMS. Your content will probably get formatted junky if you're cutting and pasting out of Word, which most people do since they obviously want to be able to save. Use Notepad if possible.

    Also, is there any main frame to this system or is that story search the only thing? I really hate when newspapers are too stubborn to go third-party on their Web sites and put boatloads of money into worthless systems.
  6. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    Yeah, if the writers are still using Word, and they will, because they'll refuse to change, copying and pasting into this system is going to cause no end of problems.
  7. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    we're hopefully going to be sold within the next year. ck and i are thinking this may be a ploy to make us more lucrative to potential buyers. we may wind up going back to falcon when the sale eventually goes through, so we are just trying to figure out why the move was made. the negatives outweigh the positives with this program.
  8. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    I'm trying to figure out who would buy your paper and at the same time be a better-enough option that you would say "hopefully going to be sold."

    OTOH, you'll be prepared for the day when they haul the press out of the back room and replace it with a blade server.
  9. Getting off track a little bit, the rumor flying around is Lee has made an offer. Not sure they want the weeklies. When news first broke that LCNI was on the block, the Winchester Sun-Danville Advocate Messenger News group wanted to add us but not the weeklies. We're a package deal.

    If we get sold to Lee, I've been told that our internet site would be run through townnews.com ... the same easy way we're doing it right now without this CMS stuff.

    Getting back on track, if anyone actually does lay out a daily paper with a CMS, I would really like to talk to him or her. After I talked to my boss yesterday (we get along great and he shook his head and went to the ME with his list of gripes), he agreed that putting together a baseball page or even importing a story with multiple stylesheets/fonts/point sizes (like the prep baseball/softball roundup) looks near impossible as the answer was "Oh, we're working on that." They want us to be completely CMS based (with little more than 45 minutes of explanation and no on-hands training other than on our own free time) by Tuesday.

    Not seeing it Lloyd.
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