Sent by joseph martins on 8 January 2004 16:04
> Do most of the larger newspaper sites, like the New York Times,
> rely on custom CMSses ? I would expect they would use customized
> versions of proprietary systems?
A little history first...grab a coffee, you'll need it.
Like many pubs, newspapers tend to have the print side, and the web side.
Some choose to use a single system, while others choose to integrate to
specialized systems, one designed specifically for print, and the other for
In the mid-90s papers had little choice but to implement two separate
systems. For one, there was no decent web CMS at the time designed to meet
the needs of a newspaper/magazine -- especially when it came to using print
content online. Zoning and editions were part of the challenge. Another was
the backwards compatibility with newspaper publishing systems. And the
traditional newspaper publishing systems had not yet moved towards
publishing to the web.
In the late 90's that began to change. While some of the larger papers
chose to develop their own in-house flavor of WCMS, others, especially the
smaller papers with little or no internal development staff, began looking
for a different solution. Understand that while this was going on
newspapers were still trying to figure out how to evolve their business
model to address the Internet (fear of cannibilizing the print side).
During this time period many of the newspaper publishing system vendors
(SSI, CCI, SAXoTECH, Openpages, and several others) began to morph their
products to handle print and web. The first few versions were clunky and
poorly designed for web publishing. A few of these products fell off the
face of the planet. Others, like SAXoTECH and SSI (since acquired) are
still doing quite well.
At the same time, some of the WCMS vendors (for example RedDot) began
looking for ways to "integrate" with traditional publishing. For some that
meant a very manual export<>import process of moving content out of a print
publication, and into a WCMS. By pushing the additional workload onto
employees these systems could be up and running very quickly, at the expense
of employee morale and productivity (want to make a reporter or editor
really angry? - there's nothing like telling them that your new system will
double their workload). For others, it meant spending the R&D to develop
tie-ins to major newspaper print publishing systems (including tie-ins to
other applications/systems like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign,
Quark Xpress, AP wire, AdSEND, AP photo, and 4D).
For enormous news publishers like Knight Ridder, Gannett, and Tribune, each
with dozens of properties (a.k.a. newspapers) scattered around the U.S., it
was the equivalent of cerebrovascular surgery and every bit as painful.
After trying a few different commercial WCMS-hybrid systems, Knight Ridder
actually decided to try to standardize on its own in-house product, Cofax
(www.cofax.org/) developed by a small team at the Philly. From what I've
heard, they're still trying to roll it out company-wide, and they're still
running a mix of print and web CMSs across more than 50 properties.
So to answer your question - each newspaper is quite different. Some of the
combinations you'll find (A and B represent different vendors):
-------------------- --------------------- ---------
in-house in-house in-house
commercial in-house in-house
commercial A commercial A in-house
commercial A in-house commercial A
commercial A commercial A commercial A
commercial A commercial B commercial B
and on and on...
You get the picture.
I believe the NYTimes is currently running RedDot for its Intranet. And as
Adam Gaffin mentioned, Boston.com runs Zope (and its owned by NYT Digital, a
2000 spinoff from the NYTimes). The New York Times Regional Newspaper Group,
a division of NYTimes, uses SAXoTECH Publicus to produce the web sites for
13 of its daily newspapers. CCI NewsDesk is used for print publishing at
the NYTimes and two of its properties: The Boston Globe and the Worcester
Telegram & Gazette. And the list goes on.
I hope I've shed some light on the situation.
please trim your posts.