Category Archives: Disruption

Legacy Newspaper Editorial Systems Really Are Killing the Industry

The newspaper industry has staked its future on failed legacy newspaper editorial systems that require “tremendous effort and patience“. GateHouse Media could not implement this old desktop software masquerading in the “cloud” because it required too much bandwidth. Seriously! What is this, 1996?

This legacy print CMS software is so ineffective, so destructive to digital innovation (not to mention legacy cost reduction), that newspaper executives are ready to take drastic measures — cut it off like a rotting limb. That’s what John Paton, CEO of Digital First media, is contemplating:

“[Digital has] got to move faster. I think it has to be more independent. It’s my job to figure out the encumbrances between the print assets and the digital assets. It’s my job to ensure that digital, if it’s going to be our future, is well funded and has as fast a path to success as possible.

I’m beginning to think that the very best way I can do that is to have it stand alone separate so that it can — unencumbered from the print piece — be able to do things we think it should do as a content company and as a sales company in the digital space.”

Paton isn’t talking about the print product itself that’s holding back digital. He’s talking about the software used to produce the print product, the same legacy print editorial system, which is putting DFM’s digital ambition and future at risk of failure.

Obsolete software and failed system architecture is one of the newspaper industry’s greatest “encumbrances,” a barrier to innovation, and ultimately a barrier to survival.

It’s not at all surprising that legacy print editorial systems in the “cloud” are failing, systemically, at every major news organization that has rolled them out. It’s not what they were designed to do.

And yet GateHouse is sticking with their legacy vendor. Why? Because they have invested millions of dollars and years (years!). But more significantly, they probably don’t know that there is an alternative.

But there is. A whole new paradigm for newsroom technology.

Forget the CMS. Stop searching for the grand unified CMS that does everything. It’s a unicorn. CMSs are designed to do one thing, e.g. produce a newspaper, a website, a blog, etc.

Publish2’s platform is a technology layer ABOVE the CMS. Publish2 commoditizes the CMS, and overcomes all of its limitations. Publish2 connects a newspaper’s old and new CMSs to work dynamically as if they were one.

Above all, Publish2 liberates newspapers from the CMSs that are holding them back, so they can create news digital products that drive new revenue while producing the print product more cost effectively.

True digital-first workflow, new sites, new apps, new revenue-driving products — it’s easy, not hard.

Ready for total CMS freedom? Get in touch.

Clay Shirky’s right that syndication’s getting disrupted — but not in the ways he thinks it is

In my contribution to the Nieman Journalism Lab’s 2011 Prediction series, I agree with Clay Shirky’s prediction about the disruption of the traditional news syndication model, but disagree (yes, I disagreed with Clay Shirky) about how the disruption will play out.  Here’s an excerpt:

The desktop web has been a revolutionary platform in terms of access to information, the democratization of publishing, and the socialization of media. But as a medium for consuming news content, from a user interface and user experience perspective, it’s problematic at best and downright awful at worst. News consumption has begun a major shift from the traditional desktop web to apps for touch tablets for a simple reason — the user experience and user interface are so much better, as the recent RJI survey of iPad users reflects. Consumers are choosing tablet apps over the traditional desktop web based on the quality of the user experience and the overall content “package.”

News organizations are already shifting their strategies to take advantage of that consumer shift. But few have thought about the role of syndication in news apps. With the immersive, hands-on experience of a tablet news app, the value of syndication changes entirely. Apps that deliver nothing but one news organization’s content will not compare favorably with the content richness of the web, no matter how good the UI is. And apps that bounce users around from site to site with an in-app browser, mimicking the traditional desktop web model, will fail for precisely the reason why users chose the app in the first place.

But news apps that can deliver full content, curated from a wide range of sources, within a cohesive, optimized — even breakthrough — UI for news consumption, will win because users will have the best of both worlds. Syndication in news apps will not be about republishing news that everyone else has. It will be about combining curated news with original content in order to create consumer packages that are deeply engaging and in many cases worth paying for. With this shift, news organizations will stop ceding to aggregators the huge value creation of curating and packaging news. Instead, news organizations will start defining their editorial brands as curators as much as they define them as original content creators.

Read the rest at Nieman Journalism Lab.