Pre­press up­grades give dailies an edge

Newspapers & Technology Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - BY TARA MCMEEKIN ED­I­TOR-IN-CHIEF

Don’t miss our cov­er­age of The Pitts­burgh Post-Gazette’s roll­out of a new con­tent-man­age­ment plat­form from Liber­cus

The Pitts­burgh Post-Gazette is rolling out the Liber­cus plat­form for its print prod­uct fol­low­ing the con­ver­sion of its web­site to the Liber­cus CMS in Oc­to­ber.

The daily is aim­ing for go-live on the cloud-based soft­ware by the end of Jan­uary, ac­cord­ing to John Crisp, vice pres­i­dent of new me­dia for Post-Gazette par­ent com­pany Block Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

“They have been con­vert­ing sec­tions al­ready, in­clud­ing the e-de­liv­ered af­ter­noon edi­tion of the pa­per,” he told News & Tech. “ at went live in early Au­gust.”

The Post-Gazette’s af­ter­noon e-edi­tion is in­cluded with a print sub­scrip­tion to the pa­per or can be pur­chased sep­a­rately.

Block con­verted to Liber­cus for the print edi­tion of e Blade in Toledo, Ohio, in Septem­ber 2012, and on tole­ in Novem­ber 2012, at which time the pa­per also erected its online pay­wall. e Blade rolled out its e-edi­tion on Liber­cus in June 2013.

Liber­cus in­cor­po­rates its own copy-edit­ing, pag­i­na­tion and lay­out en­gines, elim­i­nat­ing the need for Adobe InDe­sign or QuarkXPress. e apps are de­ployed through Mi­crosoft Corp.’s Win­dows Azure cloud-com­put­ing plat­form.

“In Toledo, we built a lay­out en­gine within the same Liber­cus CMS to sim­plify work­flow and you lay out the pa­per in an HTML5 en­vi­ron­ment in your Web browser — there’s no ex­tra app re­quired,” Crisp said. “ at con­tent, in­clud­ing all copy, pho­tos and feeds from e AP or Bloomberg, etc. all goes into the tem­plates built into the lay­out en­gine, and it pub­lishes for your out­put de­vices.”

Tem­plates gen­er­ate the ap­pro­pri­ate PDF for what­ever sec­tion or prod­uct is be­ing pub­lished, and then HTML5 pages are gen­er­ated for e-edi­tions, etc.

The Post-Gazette’s work­flow will be about the same, with some tweaks to ac­com­mo­date the much larger daily, ac­cord­ing to Crisp.

“The fact that they are much larger in terms of pages and web­site traf­fic made it a sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent in­stal­la­tion,” he said. “They have to go through a lot more train­ing and de­sign a lot more tem­plates, so that by def­i­ni­tion in­creased the mag­ni­tude of the task.”

To that end, the Post-Gazette has re­lied a lot more heav­ily on its tech staff in ad­di­tion to ven­dor sta dur­ing the roll­out.

Crisp said e Blade, be­cause of its smaller size and sta , re­lied more heav­ily on Liber­cus for soft­ware sup­port.

Block main­tains in­ter­nal dis­as­ter re­cov­ery, which would al­low both dailies to gen­er­ate a pa­per in­ter­nally in the event that ei­ther should lose all In­ter­net ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Block in 2012 made a ma­jor in­vest­ment in E. Vid­dal & As­so­ci­ates, owner of the Liber­cus plat­form in 2012, ahead of e Blade’s con­ver­sion to the CMS. Crisp also sits on the Liber­cus board ad chair­man with di­rect re­spon­si­bil­ity for sales ef­forts.

“We def­i­nitely have a stake in mar­ket­ing this to other pa­pers,” he said. “And the re­sponse has been pos­i­tive. is is a truly cloud-based sys­tem that gives you the op­por­tu­nity to do some­thing dif­fer­ent with your news­pa­per model.”

To that end, the San­dusky (Ohio) News­pa­per Group is the lat­est to com­mit to the Liber­cus plat­form. SNG — which pub­lishes 12 com­mu­nity news­pa­pers through­out Ohio, Michi­gan, Utah and Ten­nessee, as well as 42 web­sites and a

full-ser­vice dig­i­tal agency — will im­ple­ment the app across its print and dig­i­tal chan­nels.

“The real up­side for us was elim­i­nat­ing the need to duct­tape sys­tems to­gether in the back­ground,” Pa­trick O’Brien, di­rec­tor of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment said in a state­ment. “We be­lieve the in­stal­la­tion will give us sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings on IT and host­ing, cou­pled to real pro­duc­tiv­ity growth.”

SNG’s ti­tles in­clude the San­dusky Reg­is­ter and the Nor­walk Re­flec­tor in Ohio, the Stan­dard-Ex­am­iner in Og­den, Utah, and the Grand Haven (Mich.) Tri­bune. In Ten­nessee it pub­lishes the Kingsport Times-News, the John­son City Press, the Le­banon Demo­crat, the Er­win Record, the Tom­a­hawk in Moun­tain City, the Her­ald Tri­bune in Jones­bor­ough, the Mount Juliet News and the Hartsville Vidette.

at deal comes on the heels of Liber­cus’ Septem­ber pact with e Elkhart (Ind.) Truth, which is tran­si­tion­ing from a legacy pub­lish­ing sys­tem in a bid to more rapidly de­liver news con­tent to mul­ti­ple chan­nels. e Truth will be fully live on Liber­cus in early 2014.

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