Plus one for drupal (no html needed)

Morris Interactive is launching a new drupal powered site for their Jacksonville Newspaper and have developed some great new features. My favorite feature extolled by Morris Interactive VP Steve Yelvington allows editors to design new home page and feature page layouts with no html knowledge– that’s right you heard me no html needed!

If you compare that to the Ellington/Django powered templating system that we ran with Scripps Newspapers it is light years ahead. In the Django system you had to not only be html and css proficient but able to sort out it’s python powered templating tags.

Looking back or moving forward

Seth Godin has a great post on his blog about the NY Times struggle to remain profitable (and if the Times is struggling so is everyone else) and some advice about where they missed the boat. He concludes with this point that is really relevant for any business to ask whether they are all about looking back and maintaining their position or moving forward to find their next business model.

I guess it’s about the difference between:

  • senior management playing defense, supporting and protecting the status quo and avoiding offending the elders upstairs vs.
  • using existing momentum and clout to build assets for the next business.

I admit that maintaining your current business model is important to maintaining profitability, but many times businesses fail to think of the future. Many newspapers owners lived high from their publications high profit margins and failed to reinvested and find the next business model and are suffering the consequences today.

Oklahoman new structure reflects online importance

The Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City, Okla. has reorganized it’s management structure moving Chris Reen, VP of Sales and Marketing, to Executive VP of the Oklahoma Publishing Group overseeing News & Information, Advertising and Marketing, Audience Development and Community Engagement.

“Harmonizing our business, editorial, Web and technical assets is key to our success as the media landscape undergoes unprecedented change and we morph into a more dynamic business,” said Reen.

The former VP of Multimedia, Kelly Fry, will now oversee the News and Information division combining both the newspaper and the newspaper website into a single department focusing on content development for where ever it may be published.

Stop the shovelware!

Since I wielded the shovel quiet a few years ago, I haven’t understood why a newspaper hasn’t stood up and said online news is a different business from print newspaper and shouldn’t require us shoveling the entire print contents on to the web site early every morning. Well, Howard Owen has said it in an effort to change the culture of the newsroom and he didn’t say it to try to save the print circulation). Then, he describes how a newspaper would like without the shovelware. My favorite points include…

  1. A continuous flow of news.
  2. Lots of opportunities for user participation and contribution resulting in being a part of the flow of the conversation, not the whole conversation.
  3. Video (and other multimedia, but primarily video), and lots of it.
  4. Lots of utility pieces, such as calendars, movie listings, and strong advertising tie-ins for classifieds and internet yellow pages.
  5. Lots of databases. If it’s data, and it’s relevant to our community and we can make it searchable and/or sortable, we should have it on our web sites.
  6. We should also make sure our articles, our videos, our databases — pretty much everything on our web sites — is easy to share (RSS everything).

Wouldn’t that be a fun newspaper to read and a fun newspaper to work for?