Total CMS successfully launched at first paper

June 28, 2010

Article by: BLOX Digital

The Times an 85 000 circulation daily owned by Lee Enterprises in Munster IN became the first newspaper to produce its print edition using TownNews.com’s new print production system – BLOX Total CMS – this month.

Total CMS an extension of the BLOX content management system is the ground-breaking content management system that manages print and website content through ONE system!

“Having used the BLOX Web CMS on a daily basis for the past year I had dreamed about using a similar application as the primary front end system for our newsroom ” said Chris Keller online news editor for Munster’s website www.nwitimes.com. “With Total CMS our ability to package content for digital and print platforms is near limitless.”

The system utilizes a pair of redundant “appliance” servers that are installed locally and managed remotely by TownNews.com. This protects the production of the newspaper from Internet failures and performance problems due to slow Internet connections.

Content destined for the Web is automatically replicated to the website so content is seamlessly managed through a single interface.

Print pagination is done with Adobe InDesign. TownNews.com has created a plug-in that integrates InDesign with the BLOX CMS system.

The InDesign plug-in was engineered to greatly simplify the page building process. The system allows you to associate photos captions and headlines together with an article. When that article is placed on the page as a package the system will place each component in the proper InDesign frame and style.

InDesign has a great feature called “snippets.” Libraries of predefined article layouts can be created to greatly simplify the production process.

Many new features have been added to BLOX in support of Total CMS:

* Workflow: Allows stories to follow an editing process from reporter to editor(s) to print/web ready.
* Locking: Items are locked while being edited both in the Web editor and when editing on the page.
* Print specific fields: Slug name print head and sub-head depth and page placement tracking.
* Versioning: Full versions of each article and an audit trail are kept with each save.
* Sub content items: Info boxes digests FYI boxes and pull-quotes can be created as part of each article and placed for both print and online.
* AP Web feeds: AP Web feeds (news wire feeds) are supported for import into the CMS.

AP Sports agate processing is also greatly simplified with the system. Total CMS will dynamically set tab positions and styles to place content on the page with almost no effort.

(Brad Ward is the senior vice president and chief technology officer at TownNews.com. He may be reached at bward@townnews.com.)