For years, the Bowling Green Daily News used two separate systems—from two different vendors—for their online and print products. The result? Redundant, inefficient workflows and unnecessary expenses. Joe Imel, director of media operations for the 164-year-old newspaper in central Kentucky, knew there had to be a better way.
"There was no reason to do things the way we were," Imel said. "We would write something in the old system and then struggle getting the two systems to talk."
Imel believed that moving forward with one integrated system would save money and time. Since they had long used TownNews.com's BLOX CMS for their website, BLOX Total CMS, the company's print frontend system, was a natural choice for streamlining their publishing workflow.
"There is one system out there, BLOX Total CMS, that does everything we need," Imel said.
After moving to BLOX Total CMS in February 2017, the team can now produce the 20,000 circulation newspaper and distribute content to print, web and mobile channels with one frontend system.
Imel predicts that the paper will recoup the initial BLOX Total CMS investment in the first year and a half. After that, they expect to save upwards of $28,000 per year.
"That doesn't include any labor or press time savings. We're going to save more than just dollar amounts," said Imel. "All of it equates to dollars these days, but just on the bottom line we're saving at least $24,000—maybe $28,000 a year."
Benefits of onsite training
Typically, installations of BLOX Total CMS include a week of onsite training. Each member of the TownNews.com training team has a background in newspaper and media, giving them unique perspectives on the inner workings of the newsroom.
"The unexpected plus from the onsite training was the InDesign portion," said Imel. "They really showed us how we can make things work and how we could do it more efficiently. They even gave us a few thoughts on design, which is always good."
The BLOX Total CMS team shared time-saving InDesign techniques, like a redesign of agate pages that slashed production times from over half an hour to under 15 minutes. "This whole process allowed us to really look at ourselves and tweak things," Imel said.
After moving to BLOX Total CMS, the Bowling Green Daily News is now beating deadlines by over 45 minutes. Paginators are laying out pages faster and, Imel noted, the pages even look better.
"It's noticeable—the quickness with which my paginators are knocking it out. We're getting to the point where sometimes the paper just sits there waiting for the press people to come back from lunch," Imel said.
Everything in one place
Using the assignment, budgeting and Page Tracker tools built into BLOX Total CMS, staff members are adding notes, file photos and other related content early in the editorial process. "We see them start to write earlier because everything's there in front of you," Imel said.
And with easy access to over a decade of assets in BLOX CMS now, the staff can be more proactive to make content even more engaging.
"Things are at our fingertips and it's showing in the thought process of my people," Imel said. "Before when you put a slug line or idea on a text document, nobody did anything with it until they had to. Now it's seamless for us. One person can set up and distribute content to all the platforms—social media, web, mobile, e-Editions—with ease. Employees are thinking about the process, and by thinking about the process, they end up saving time."
The system also makes it easier to store and reuse the vast library of multimedia content that's generated in the modern newsroom. "Now we upload a photo or video once and it goes every place we need."
Ultimately, Imel says that consolidating print and digital publishing under BLOX Total CMS has been a boon for the paper.
"If you are looking to maximize your resources, speed things up, be a little more creative, all while delivering to every platform, BLOX Total CMS is a no brainer," Imel said. "I wish we had done it a long time ago—it's really making a difference for us."
Cherry Wolf (email@example.com) is a marketing specialist at TownNews.com.