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Under review
Caleb Peronnet 1 month ago • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 1 month ago 1

Hey there!

We recently launched our website in February, and while it's still relatively simple in design, we're always working on integrating new technology in order to stay ahead of our competition; however, two of the integrations I'm still having problems with are Apple News and Google Play Newsstand. 

I have searched the Town News help database and forums for guidance, yet I consistently come up short.

While in theory I could publish an RSS feed (which is another problem in itself) to Apple News, I have heard mixed results of success unless you're publishing in ANF — the format Apple is essentially requiring for any sort of success. When it comes to Newsstand, I simply don't know where to begin on the BLOX end for integration.

Could someone please clarify as to the status of these full integrations. Have they actually been released but not updated in the help guide, still in development, or scrapped entirely?


Hi Caleb!

I'm sorry you were having difficulty with the documentation. This was up there before, but I'm not sure if it was removed, or what. I will alert our documentation team. =)

But, I can give you some updates / instructions to try to help you out in the meantime.

For Google Newsstand, we do indeed have a special feed for that. It is essentially just an RSS feed with an additional altf=google_newsstand parameter. Like this:


As for Apple News, we have been working with some beta customers on a test implementation of this, to try to learn about the format and all the caveats (there are many thus far). We are still planning on doing a native integration this year, but it got shuffled around a few times and we have been delayed. It is still on our roadmap though!

I hope this helps! Thanks!

Under review
Brendan 1 month ago in BLOX CMS • updated 1 month ago 4

It would be helpful to be able to use Facebook Videos as assets, like you can with YouTube videos. Right now the closest we can do is using an HTML block with its embed code, which is not ideal.

Under review
Andrea 1 month ago in BLOX CMS • updated 1 month ago 4

Good afternoon, everyone, 

We are trying to get a video feed from Blox to our app (which is made by Whiz). 

The URL I am giving Whiz is not what they want. They said my URLs return articles with videos, but there is no direct link to play the video iteself. 

What they need is...

  1. Feed is in Whiz format -- see the two urls above have 'whiz' in them
  2. If not Whiz format, then an standard mrss feed
  3. Feed has link to actual video -- an .mp4 or .m3u8

Would anyone care to sure their URL format for a MRSS feed? 

Please and thank you. 


Rob Weir 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Andrea 1 month ago 3

Hi there -- we're looking to expand what we can offer to sell on our site, to include not just stories and photos but also other branded merchandise. Our sales contact, Carol, suggested SecondStreet for us and they would definitely fit the bill for photo and story reprint sales, but they indicated they're not doing much on the "other merchandise" front right now.

We could use something like Shopify for an online store, but we'd prefer to keep our number of payment processors kind of low if we can. (Among other things, we're in a university environment where we have to get full review from multiple departments with payment modules.)

Thanks in advance!

Under review
Ashley 1 month ago in BLOX Total CMS • updated 1 month ago 4

Has anyone implemented a block (flex) or ad block that auto refreshes just the content of that one block? If so, what method did you find that worked best?

Under review
Nick 1 month ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 1 month ago 1

We've been using FLEX for about a year and I've just now noticed there isn't a way to break out of the mobile view of the back-end like there used to be for Zen.

For instance with Zen I could go to the front-end website and click "View full site." Then I went back to the BLOX back-end website thus tricking BLOX to show me the desktop version of the back-end. This was probably an unintentional workaround but it was very handy when I was away from a computer and needed to change something other than an asset.

Under review
Christian Ramirez 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Skye Eve 2 months ago 6
Can any of you share ideas or something you have already implemented internally to fight against AdBlockers? Check out what the Post is doing http://wicknet.com/1Rro5cA though this would require a paywall.
Under review
Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 months ago • updated by Elizabeth Stephens 2 months ago 3

In another community topic, Craig from Calkins was discussing adding a "Fact Box" on articles to show transparency about how the article was written.

I would actually love to talk to you guys about this more. What can TownNews.com do, as your CMS, to help you establish greater trust with your readers?

We've actually been in discussions with Google on ways to employ Fact Check schema in our articles, using ClaimReview and Fact Check data. I think this would be like a Related Content item, but would have some little fields along with it, such as the claim that was made, the "rating" of the claim (true/false on a scale), and the source that was used to verify/debunk the claim. These would be separate Content items, so you could multiples per article, and could even drag them inline next to the claim being made.

As part of that, I'm also looking at ways for news orgs to be more transparent in reporting...

Some ideas that were being discussed:

  • Headline labels to differentiate opinion, satire, commentary, etc. (To avoid confusion that this item may not be news)
  • Publication information - date posted, edits, updates, maybe revisions
  • Location of reporter
  • Sources / citations / references
  • Questions from users in response to the article
  • Conflicts of interest and other declarations
  • Updates (Related Content item)
  • Corrections (Related Content item)

And then I like Craig's additions of:

  • researched by ___
  • edited by ___
  • interviews conducted

Also maybe:

  • fact checked by ___

Maybe there would be a way to differentiate stories that had this information versus other stories? Like, there would be an icon next to the headline... ?

Also, should this be fielded data to help each newsroom remember to write each thing? It could even be like a wizard for the reporter to fill out... Or should it be just a free-form box where you type stuff in?

What do you guys think? Would you use this? Is there even time for this in resource-strapped newsrooms?

Under review
Rick Holtz 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 2 months ago 6

I am trying to create a block with content that stays in the block for only one week. I know how to set it up for "today only" but I can't figure out the coding for having stuff that was published in the previous week.

Kevin M. Cox 2 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

We've got an advertiser asking about how much we'd charge to let them sponsor the entire website and remove the paywall for a period of time. Basically letting everyone read everything for free, sponsored by XYZ, Inc.

Has anyone done anything like this before? Very curious to hear any thoughts on how to price this or reasons why would shouldn't even consider it.


Kyle Whitfield 2 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

Was wondering that photo-swipe option found in 'utility: full article' could be included as an option in 'card: showcase?' Or maybe it already is and I'm missing it?

Under review
Nick 1 year ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Patrick O'Lone (Director of Software Development) 2 months ago 5

Some of us are OCD about how our code looks. So it's somewhat of an exercise in frustration when creating an HTML block to then have the system remove hard returns. I don't see any rhyme or reason as to what it removes. It does save tabs(or four spaces) which is good but hard returns are really a crapshoot.

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 2 months ago • updated 2 months ago 1

At our May 2017 customer webinar, we showed you how the latest changes to BLOX Live e-Editions can help you make your multimedia print replica more lucrative and engaging than ever. We also discussed how you can use BLOX Total CMS to simplify creation and segmentation of your Live e-Edition.

Topics included:

  • Boosting revenue with new Live e-Editions ad positions.
  • Affordable long-term archiving of your Live e-Editions.
  • Painless e-Edition creation with BLOX Total CMS.

Watch it today!

Under review
Jason Schaefer 3 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by liorb 2 months ago 23
Since business/schools/daycares/etc closings is a issue that all newspapers/media have to deal with it would be nice to have a built in way to have approved businesses input/update closings/delayed starts within BLOX.
Scott Burden - Tupelo, MS 2 months ago in BLOX Total CMS • updated by Marcus Fitzsimmons 2 months ago 3

Our group is using dual monitor setups - it would be awesome to allow us to utilize "drag and drop" from BLOX Total CMS Asset Manager and InDesign. I have my working InDesign document on one screen, and my Asset Manager set to open on the other. Instead of clicking "OK" - it would be convenient to drag the asset (and whatever siblings) directly to the working page.