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Select a CMS for your news organization
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Select a CMS for your news organization

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What is a content management system?

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Every day, news organizations use a CMS, or content management system, to publish their articles online. It’s typically the first technology your news organization chooses when building their tech stack.

If you’re starting a newsletter, you might use an email service provider (ESP) as your CMS.

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What might I need a CMS for?

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Content management systems don’t just help publish - they also support other parts of your news organization, like audience engagement, ad revenue, or reader revenue.

Review these questions to make sure a CMS can meet your needs:

Audience

  • Do you moderate, approve, and remove comments?
  • Do you send emails, texts, or notifications when an article is published?
  • Do you send newsletters?
  • Do you recommend articles based on individual readers?
  • Do you support a print publication by exporting articles for layouts?

Content

  • Do you publish real-time, localized information, like local weather or traffic?
  • Do you publish social media content, like Tweets or public Facebook posts?

Monetization

  • Do you sell ads?
  • Do you have a subscription with a paywall?
  • Do you collect payments on your site, like for donations?
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Who will use your CMS?

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Many news organizations have several teams that might use your content management system, such as:

  • Editorial will publish every day
  • Audience might publish or re-publish articles
  • Product might ensure articles are displaying properly based on your site’s design
  • Business might manage different sources of revenue, like creating subscription landing pages or ensuring ads are displaying properly

Evaluate whether a content management system will meet your needs by asking these questions, especially if you’re a smaller news organization:

  • Technical skills: Who can help you with implementation?
  • Support: Who can you ask if you have questions or issues?
  • Familiarity: How familiar is your team with other content management systems? Which have they used in the past?
  • Price: How much can you budget? Can you start with a free option, and pay for an upgrade later?
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Which CMS do news organizations use?

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The Google News Initiative and the International News Media Association (INMA) surveyed, interviewed, and evaluated 15 CMS providers based on a list of features. All reviews were conducted by independent third-party experts, and included:

  • A 70-question questionnaire
  • A 90-minute demo
  • Customer reference checks
  • Fact-check interview with each CMS provider

The 15 CMS providers include:

  • Arc XP
  • Atex ACE
  • BLOX Digital (formerly TownNews)
  • Drupal
  • Eidosmedia
  • Ghost
  • Naviga Global
  • Newspack
  • Ring Publishing
  • Stibo DX
  • Tresite
  • Whitebeard
  • Woodwing
  • Wordpress (Managed, VIP)

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