What's a good, off the shelf CMS for newspaper/magazine publishing?
January 11, 2007 12:37 PM   Subscribe

What's a good, off the shelf CMS for newspaper/magazine publishing?

I realize a lot of sites develop custom coded sites, using various frameworks (PHP or what not), but I am curious about off the shelf solutions.

So far, I've discovered Gryrosite/Dispatch, Ellington, Bricolage, & Campware.

I've read this previous, similar post, but I'm looking for a more integrated solution, not just something for the back-end. something that can run by a somewhat tech savy person (probably me), but doesn't get bogged done in tech details. I just want publish and go

I'm not interested in PHPNews and other, seemingly lightweight, solutions. Professional features are needed, such as organizing by section , issue and article, ability to link to other stories within the site, ability to comment on articles, rss feeds, event calendar, integrated picture gallery would nice, ability to include lots of photos with articles, a blogging component, etc, etc. Lack of any one feature isn't a deal breaker, but this is the level of features I'm looking for.

I'm not talking about building this beast with Ruby, PHP or whatever, so please no advice on how easy it is to build this with plone or somesuch

Free/opensource is nice, but it's got to be quality. We won't mind paying for a product, but something like Ellington is outta our league. Dispatch is interesting, but that's more geared towards getting a print product online. Bricolage is just a back-end. Campware seems intersting, but it requires root level access to a server, which implies administering the server myself, which I just don't have time to .

The goal here is to concentrate on design and production of newspaper and minimizing having to admin the server and write custom code at least at this point. We want to get up and running.

Whatcha know?
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Drupal, Mambo, and Joomla seem to be popular, especially among print publishers.
posted by sonofslim at 12:41 PM on January 11, 2007

Response by poster: Are the oriented towards news or mag pubs?

One of the things that was interesting about Campware/Campsite was this:

Campsite follows the print-newspaper publishing paradigm, so it structures sites by default as Publications > Issues > Sections > Articles. Campsite works best for medium-to-large-size online news publications, but it is capable of handling nimbler sites too. Some of its main features are highly customizable user interface, total design freedom for web designers, automatic creation of archives, copy flow, and built-in subscription support.

Does Drupal, Mambo or Joomla have that Pub>Issue>Section>Article structure built in?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:53 PM on January 11, 2007

Dispatch is interesting, but that's more geared towards getting a print product online.

Isn't that what you're trying to do, or don't you have print product?
posted by bonaldi at 12:56 PM on January 11, 2007

Response by poster: Isn't that what you're trying to do, or don't you have print product?

Ya, we're in print, but I don't want to limit us to a such packages. I'd prefer to something something that does a great job of organizing content online than something that sucks at getting the print product online (which Dispatch does NOT do)
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:11 PM on January 11, 2007

Response by poster: i.e. Dispatch doesn't suck at transfering print stuff online, but the online part could use more sexy features.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:35 PM on January 11, 2007

Oh, I see. I fear the scope of your ambition may be a little large here. There isn't really an app you can run and "publish the paper online".

I can't see a solution with minimal admin. You really need something that will integrate with your current workflow, but that means a great deal of manual configuration. Otherwise, uploading stuff to the website is going to be a manual process, and that's a full-time, albeit low-level, job. In both cases, your site is going to have to be designed, just as the newspaper was.

Things to ask: What do you currently use for print publishing? What are your current automatic export options from it? How many people can you spare to do the website production? If you have more at first you can make it more self-maintaining in the long run (but that can mean your site is as inert as a newspaper).

something that can run by a somewhat tech savy person (probably me), but doesn't get bogged done in tech details. I just want publish and go
Unfortunately, I think this is a bit like saying "a press that can be run by someone who can push buttons, but doesn't get bogged down in platemaking or ink weighting"

The server isn't really going to just look after itself. Saying you want to get online but not worry about the server is trying to publish but not bothering with the press. You need pressmen, even if that's outsourced, and you need someone to care about your server, even if that's outsourced too.
posted by bonaldi at 1:53 PM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm currently researching and about to build a cms driven site for a smaller newspaper that comes out every week. I found a few solutions along the way, but for my project, I I decided on Wordpress. I found the following posts useful:

How to use WordPress to run a magazine, news website

In my project, small and open source is about the budget I have to work with. I did run across these other Newspaper/magazine CMS's that you may want to take a look at:

I thought this looked interesting, howver it seems to be in Sourceforge limbo. There seems to be activity on it's mailing list though.

Vivvo: Article Managent CMS
I thought this was nice. If I had a larger budget I would have looked a bit closer.

This looked promising as well.

I'm not sure if I helped much, but these are some of the ones I can remember without my notes (which are at work now.)
posted by punkrockrat at 5:39 PM on January 11, 2007

Ellington is quality. The Django codebase is an open-source version of it by the same coders, and it's very highly regarded. Since you can't pay for Ellington, why don't you try Django?

Jeff Croft has a great article, Django for Non-Programmers.
posted by evariste at 6:07 PM on January 11, 2007

IANAP (I am not a publisher, journalist, work for a paper, etc. etc.) and have no affiliation with the makers of it, but seconding the recommendation of PublicSquare. It does look promising - I've been following its progress through development. It was created by Christina Wodtke, an information architect who grew frustrated with existing online paper/journal publishing (especially Drupal) while she was publishing the design journal Boxes and Arrows (for IAs). They also wanted something that addressed multiple editors and a lot of the issues of distributed publishing. B&A is running on PublicSquare and it seems to be pretty solid (from the user's perspective). I'm not sure how robust or scalable it is on the back end or even if it would meet your needs (dunno if enterprise edition exists), but it might be worth checking out. At least you know it will be user friendly to administer ;)

good luck, and let us know what works.
posted by rmm at 6:29 PM on January 11, 2007

Response by poster: Public Square is interesting, but still too "betalike". It's designed for online publications at this point, so getting content from Print to Public Square involves reformatting. It's light weight, which isn't bad, but it's narrow community journalism focus is too limited.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:53 AM on January 23, 2007

Here is an updated version of the CMS I used for my college newspaper. It runs on PHP/MySQL.
posted by yearginsm at 9:56 PM on February 17, 2007

« Older Boss Management?   |   Is it unreasonable to put a contingency lawyer on... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.