News editors and programmers have an important trait in common - laziness.
Not the sin of a sloth per se, but the innate desire to find ways to reduce unnecessary work, to become more efficient, to be able to do more with less. From that shared trait comes some of the best innovations in digital publishing.
That desire to minimize or remove unneeded steps allows both developers and editor to focus on more important parts of their jobs, the things that make a real impact. For an editor, that is curation and timeliness; making critical decision to ensure that their audience gets the most accurate, most up-to-date, and highest quality information available. These days, editors need to deliver on multiple platforms - mobile, Web, tablet, email, etc. Keeping up with multiple systems, large amounts of information and multiple platforms can be a big strain on a news organization.
Phase2 recently had a chance to do something we really enjoy - to customize a CMS that helps editors focus on what is important, instead of just sorting and pushing content. We were privileged to work with Thomson Reuters on a Web content management system (CMS) that supports their Olympics website, their mobile Olympics site, and provides content support for iPad and iPhone applications
Check out their fantastic coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London at reuters.com/london-olympics-2012/.
Two of the goals of the Reuter's CMS which were especially intriguing for Phase2, were key work-saving steps. The first was a touch-once, publish-many content management system to support multiple outputs and the second was smart automation of content tagging, grouping and routing with the ability for editors to override at will. These two items create a CMS that works hard to handle all the small details, so editors can focus on the truly important and impactful.
It’s a system we’re proud of. A team of editors can route content to the website, the mobile site, and the iOS app from a single Drupal-based CMS. Stories, photos, results and other data, flow in from multiple data sources, are parsed and tagged, and then stitched together into packages automatically based on tagging and a set of rules. The content flows into all the appropriate sections of the site based on countries, sports, events, venues and athletes, and each story package grows organically as new related pieces of content arrive.
An editor need not touch a story for all this to happen. But they can make changes and override the automation when and where they feel it is needed. Editors can use the admin interface to search for additional content. They can change tagging, modify the packaging, and “pin” content in place.
It’s a great blend of automation and curation, allowing editors to spend their time on what is important - sharing the excitement of the Games with us.