How an Open-source Headless CMS Can Help Remote Newsrooms

How an Open-source Headless CMS Can Help Remote Newsrooms
Photo : How an Open-source Headless CMS Can Help Remote Newsrooms

To cope with operational disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, many industries have been forced to embrace remote work. The news industry is no exception. Media organisations around the world have turned off the lights in their newsrooms and sent reporters and editors into isolation at home.

But as anyone following the coronavirus story can attest, news has not stopped during this period of disruption. On the contrary, more news is being produced and consumed than ever before, even as newsrooms stay dark. How has a business long reliant on facetime excelled during this work-from-home era?

In a word: software. Cloud based and collaborative technologies - from Slack to Zoom - have kept the lines of communication open. But the most important piece of software for the newly decentralised newsroom is the content management system (CMS), which enables publication. Superdesk, the industry-leading open-source headless CMS for news organisations, was created for moments just like this one.

Collaborating from a distance

Supdersk is full of features that make it a breeze to work efficiently and collaboratively from anywhere. For starters, the CMS workspace is accessed through a web browser, meaning that the only requirement for logging in is an Internet connection. Best of all, because Superdesk autosaves locally every few seconds, users can work even if their connection is weak or interrupted. As long as the browser window stays open, keystrokes are still being recorded. 

Superdesk also includes a selection of handy collaboration tools for journalists. For instance, in the Editor pane, where users do most of their work, it's possible to tag and alert colleagues to questions via an "Inline Comments" tool, a virtual conversation that speeds of the editing and reporting process. Additionally, the Editor features a "Suggestions Mode," which highlights changes to a text that must be addressed before publishing. This helps enable collaborative editing and makes it easier for journalists to respond to editors' changes.

The show must go on

Before the decentralised newsroom was commonplace, story planning took place in person, and on paper. That luxury obviously is not possible when everyone is working from home. Fortunately, the headless CMS includes a handy workaround: the Superdesk Planning Component. This feature allows editors to plan coverage and task reporters with "Assignments" that are sent directly to a user's personal workspace.

And what if an editor wants to check in on a reporter's progress? Superdesk has a tool for that, too. The "User Activity" widget, which can be added to any user's personal workspace, helps people view other users' activity in real-time, showing what content has been created, opened, and locked, and by whom.

A remote-friendly workflow

Among the most distinctive aspects of Superdesk is its decentralised workflow, where each part of the content process is optimised to help teams function offsite. One great feature, the "Notifications" tool, ensures content creators and editors are kept abreast of changes in a story's lifecycle. For instance, if a story is sent for copyediting, the reporter who created the story will receive a notification.

Marking and commenting tools ­are two other ways that Superdesk keeps users updated on a piece of content's status. With these tools, journalists can send stories to a specific workspace, monitor when the story is worked on, and follow up with comments or questions.

Keeping the lights on

In the weeks and months ahead, newsrooms around the world will continue to contend with coronavirus-related disruptions to their operations. But as the virus rages on, the news will never sleep. Thanks to newsroom software like the open source decoupled CMS Superdesk, the lights of the virtual newsroom will always be on.

Is Superdesk right for your organisation? Schedule a free Superdesk and Superdesk Publisher demo today to find out. 

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