By Amanda MacArthur • 08/16/2011
Redefining the word “best” when searching for the best CMS for newspapers
“Best” doesn’t always equal the most popular, especially in technology and when referring to companies who have been in business for over 300 years—many whom are stuck in their ways. Well, I suppose that isn’t so true, considering the first official American newspaper, Publick Occurrences, Both Forreign and Domestick was shut down after only it’s first issue in 1690. The true “business” of newspapers began in 1721 with the New England Courant and the presses have been running ever since. Still, almost 300 years.
The difference between a business that has been running since 1721 and one that launched in 2011 are vastly different. New businesses have the luxury of choosing which infrastructure they want to build upon, while newspaper websites were starting to load content back in July of 1980, starting with the Ohio’s Columbus Dispatch. Like most businesses, only the most adaptable will survive and that begins with choosing a content management system that absorbs the storage of millions of articles, thousands of bylines and hundreds of thousands of photos.
In a Quora discussion that inspired this blog post, Adriaan Bloem, Analyst at Real Story Group (CMS Watch) writes, “The two most specialized systems are Escenic (you can recognize a lot of newspapers running it when they use the .ece extension on URLs); and Atex Polopoly. Both are quite focused on the use cases of a newspaper.”
Additionally, SAXOTECH runs The New York Times and The Washington Times and also offers Circulation and WebCirc solutions. Back in 2008, SAXOTECH was “the media industry’s first integrated solution [to] connect the flow of news and content developed by both the newsroom and readers participating in social media discussions.”
Drupal is especially popular in the newspaper industry because it was built as a content management system, while WordPress can be modified into a content management system, like the Mequoda WordPress Framework1 CMS we’ve built for our clients.
WordPress also has their fair share of news organizations, including the blogs of the Wall Street Journal, Britain’s Express & Star, and Iowa’s The Gazette. Benjamin L. from laGazette in France writes, “we had a fantastic experience with WordPress re-developing content sections of our site dedicated to local authorities (2 millions monthly pageviews).”
There are so many CMS’s to compare (did I mention The Boston Globe runs on Ektron?) but it all comes down to what you need your news website to do and how many resources you have to build and maintain it. While hosted enterprise solutions offer solid frameworks and advanced technology, like circulation platforms, they also have their limits and you need to work within their walls. Open-source software will cost you in terms of development, man-hours and bumps you may not have seen in the road, but you are able to develop exactly the type of website you want, with little limitations.
What’s your experience with content management systems? Have you bounced around? Why are you using the CMS you are?
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