Phillip Smith

Meet the new CMS/Same as the old CMS

“Workflow and how that is coded into the CMS is a huge issue for newspapers.” – Suw Charman-Anderson

For the past few months, I’ve been hearing a consistent message from some folks working in so-called ‘legacy’ news organization: “our corporate content-management systems and our corporate culture are the main barrier to innovation.”

But I’m starting to wonder if that fenced-in technical reality is leading to fenced-in thinking from those that are in the best position to push for change?

I’ve been around long enough to see some news organizations change their content-management system three or four times. You know what? It didn’t change the way they think about news at all.

From Atex to Movable Type, from NewsGate to Wordpress, from Interwoven to Bricolage: I’ve experienced them all over the last fifteen years. If there’s anything consistent to any CMS, it’s that they all suck. It’s just a matter of which one sucks less in your specific situation.

IMHO, the problem isn’t that news is stuck in the wrong CMS, it’s that new thinking is stuck in something much harder to get out of: the belief that change isn’t possible (or already happening).

Change is happening, it’s just not evenly distributed yet. ;)

There are ‘traditional’ media organizations with wonderful, journalist-friendly enterprise content-management systems out there – just have a look inside of MSNBC or Le Monde. Does it change their thinking dramatically? I’m not convinced.

Innovation can come from anywhere; you just have to be willing to look for it.


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


Want to launch a local news business? Apply now for the journalism entrepreneurship boot camp

I’m excited to announce that applications are now open again for the journalism entrepreneurship boot camp. And I’m even more excited to ...… Continue reading