In 2011, Gannett Co. owned more than a hundred newspapers and television stations – each with its own website. To publish its online material, the company was supporting about a half dozen content management systems.
Journalists in most of the company’s broadcast newsrooms wrote and published their digital stories through a homegrown CMS called Newsmaker, while almost all of Gannett’s newspaper websites were powered with Saxotech. But the Arizona Republic had its own system known as Enigma, and the Des Moines Register posted some of its content through WordPress.
Meanwhile, Gannett’s flagship publication, USA Today, maintained its site with a proprietary system it simply called “CMS.”
The assortment of software left Gannett no easy way to share web content among its properties, and some systems lacked basic functions such as the ability to embed hyperlinks or multimedia into articles.
“None of these digital systems was far enough along or modern enough,” said Mitch Gelman, Gannett Digital Vice President/Product. “Gannett was so far behind the CNN’s and the MSNBC’s of the world.”
So Gannett embarked upon a massive digital overhaul. It set out to design and build a content management system that would replace the existing systems and serve every Gannett newsroom – from USA Today to KHOU-TV in Houston to the Fort Collins Coloradoan – allowing them to post and share material more easily.