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Amber alert option

Shawn Willmon 2 days ago in BLOX Total CMS • updated by Robert 1 day ago 1

It would be nice to have an option to push a story for an Amber Alert in the area to the site.


Anyone else getting spam redirects on mobile devices?

Nick 2 days ago in BLOX CMS • updated 1 day ago 2

We've had several people call about spam redirects on our website in the past couple of weeks. And we've already had three in the past hour. I submitted a ticket to TownNews and they said it isn't coming from our website. They said it comes from insecure websites and apps.

I think it's coming from Outbrain. When I load a story page with Outbrain enabled the page doesn't load securely on my phone and I get redirects. I disabled Outbrain and the pages then load securely. I also stopped getting the spam redirects.

So I decided to turn Outbrain back on. The page stopped loading securely and I started getting the redirects. Turned it off again, no redirects.

If this isn't originating from our website why does disabling Outbrain stop the redirects? And if this isn't originating from our website why do we have a noticeable influx of complaints?


Feature request: Reader blogging platform

Thomas Martinez 4 days ago in BLOX CMS • updated 1 day ago 4

How many of you would welcome a more robust "article submission form" to use as a reader blogging platform? I'm talking about the same functionality of the story asset, with hyper links, ability to submit multiple photos and place them in the text where needed, etc. 

I have seen a few requests for hyperlinks and other stuff in the "article submission form," but I think full functionality would be welcome.

Our only other option would be to open part of our admin to readers, and we really don't want to do that as that will bring in a whole other set of problems.

Under review

I'm having trouble setting up an Alexa Flash Briefing.

kathy 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 3 days ago 7

Support says I need a proxy server. Has anyone else got this working that would point me in the right direction please?


More robust BLOX Go

Brad Boner 2 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 3 days ago 1

The BLOX Go feature is descent, but it is really lacking in functionality. There are several things we'd like to see that would improve this feature:

• Would like to be able to fill out more of an asset's fields. As it stands we can only fill out the Title and Caption fields for an image or video asset, and Title and Content for an article asset. Would like to have, at the very least, the Byline and Slug fields available for all assets in Blox Go, and be able to select Flags for images and videos.

• Ability to modify other assets besides articles. Seriously, this is a major flaw in the system. We can upload images and videos, but once we've done so we can't edit them. This means that if we upload an image from the field and there's a misspelling in the caption, we can't edit it unless we do so through the regular CMS site (not BLOX Go), which is absurdly clunky use if you're trying to do so on your phone.

• I know I'm asking a lot here, but it would be awesome if article or photo assets created with BLOX Go (or in CMS in general) could somehow "write back" to TCMS. Say I upload a photo from a house fire from my phone in CMS. It would be nice if that also created an asset in TCMS that could be used in our print workflow. As it stands we need to create a separate asset in TCMS if we want to use that image in print.

If any of these features are already available, please do let me know.




Hey Brad!

I wanted to let you know that BLOX Go is a major initiative for us this year. In fact, we're totally re-doing it!

Coming soon, it will be re-released with an entirely new UI that is a lot more flexible.

In this first version, we are focusing on changing the UI elements and not adding a ton of new functionality. For our first version we're striving for feature parity with the existing interface. But in subsequent versions, we will add much more functionality, including having access to more fields, more asset types and eventually, more BLOX CMS applications.

Under review

Feature request: Import unlisted YouTube videos from owned channel

Erica Smith 5 days ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 3 days ago 1

YouTube is working with publishers — there's a whole YouTube for Publishers program. It's also our video player, so we upload and monetize all videos through YouTube. That works great on videos that we create — we upload them and publicly publish them. We also use AP video. We can add (and monetize) the video to our site through YouTube, but not to our YouTube channel. The easy way to do that is to add those as unlisted videos. 

Syndication pulls in YouTube feeds; very handy. But only public videos. The API that Town News uses searches YouTube, similar to a user searching YouTube, so unlisted videos are invisible. To add unlisted videos to Blox, I have to manually create a YouTube asset. 

Is it possible to change that a bit so that unlisted videos on my YouTube channel also can be imported? 

Under review

Way to change start date/time to now

Scott Brunner 1 week ago in BLOX CMS • updated 4 days ago 11

We would like a way to quickly and easily change the start date/time to now to accurately reflect when a story is published. I guess that would look like some sort of button or maybe an extra option by the start date/time in the default article asset window.

We work in a competitive market, and when a story is published is often critical for us. Also, we have times when a reporter or editor will create a file in advance of an event and the start date/time does not get changed to more accurately reflect when a story is published. The difference between when an article asset is created and when an article is published is a big one for us and one we don't want to have to explain to readers. 

Yes, we can manually change it to get really close, but it would be simpler if there was a one-click way to make that happen. If there is, I've missed it!

Under review

Help with Calendar Query Rules

Marshall Hopkins 4 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 4 days ago 3

Can someone help me find the accepted values for calendar query rules with dates? For example, I can see that for the rule "Creation Date/Time" I can Choose an exact date, say "Feb 1, 2018" but I also see that we are using "Today" as a value in some places. Where is the documentation for all the accepted values for these rules? Can I write "Tomorrow" or "Today +7"? 

this Calendar Query Rules doesn't seem to have it.


Customizable Menu on AMP Template

Robert Dundon 4 days ago in BLOX CMS 0
What problem(s) does this idea solve? Why do you need this idea implemented? Provide as many problems or use cases as possible.

Several site editors have expressed a need to have some level of control over the menu being used. Currently, the AMP template always pulls the navigation from the nav region "mobile-nav-left," no matter what. There are no overrides or changes available to this, as it's hard-coded[1].

How often would you use this feature?

As often as site editors want to change/adjust the navigation.

How many people in your organization would use this feature?

At least 3-5 site editors (one at each of our sites)

[1]: The code is on line 8 or module.amp.nav.utl in the Core TN AMP component in Flex.

Under review

Quiz asset

David Marsters 4 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Robert 5 days ago 11
Idea for the future: An asset that would support quiz questions, multiple choice answers and then providing the user a score at the end. We've used collection assets to fake quizzes before (1 image has the question as the caption, the next image has the answer, etc.) and they've been very popular on our website, so I think an actual quiz platform that provided the answers and score would be even more popular.
Also, can you show me a few examples?

Alignment for Related Assets needs to be fixed

Nathan Bechtold 1 week ago in BLOX CMS 0

When I add a Child Asset to an article, but do not actually drop the Child Asset into the body of the article, I don't like what it does to the alignment of my page: it actually ADDS a "left rail" and shifts the entire text of the article to the right. But the only thing in the "left rail" is an image of that asset I added... so it looks really odd.

This is only an issue on desktop, not on mobile.

It creates an additional problem when I add an Article as a Child Asset to another Article. Now, since I'm in the Parent Article, it's not too much trouble to simply place each Child Article into the body of the Parent Article. But it has now affected the alignment in all of those Child Articles -- because it added the Parent Asset to the "left rail" for each of those Child Articles! So now I have to go back into each of the Child Articles and drop the new Parent into the body of those articles, to fix that alignment.

This is terribly cumbersome and awfully time-consuming, but it's necessary if I don't want most of my articles to be misaligned on desktop view.

The easy fix is to create a default that adds all Related Assets into a horizontal "block" at the end of each article.


Article: How Hearst Newspapers changes its paywall to drive reader loyalty

Kevin M. Cox 1 week ago in BLOX CMS 0

Good read, this level of flexibility looks great:


"At the Albany Times-Union, the first paper to test the flexible paywall, the total number of subscribers has doubled since it started tests in September, and the overall number of new subscriber numbers for Hearst Newspapers has jumped 10 percent."


Webinar | Refresh your site for spring with these best practices

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 2 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 weeks ago 0

Join us on March 15th @ 10:30 AM CDT

Things move fast in the digital world—blink and you may just miss something! At our March customer webinar, Christine Masters, director of product management at TownNews.com, will review recent features and updates you may have missed, and highlight improvements you can implement on your site today.

We’ll show you:

  • Behind-the-scenes advancements that make your site faster and more secure.
  • New design features and set-up options you can use to improve your site’s user experience.
  • Ad tech optimizations to help you grow local and programmatic revenue.
  • New and easy ways to boost audience engagement and time on site.
  • . . . and more!

Join us on March 15th @ 10:30 AM CDT

Want to take in the webinar on your own time? Register now and we’ll send you a link to the webinar recording once it’s ready.


Vote now: Local Media Association R&D Partner of the Year

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 3 weeks ago • updated 2 weeks ago 3

Exciting news! TownNews.com made the final list for the Local Media Association R&D Partner of the Year. Now, the voting begins.Our mission every day at TownNews.com is to help our partners grow digital revenue and audience with our tools and technology, and we would love your vote and support for this honor. Thank you. 


Add Mailchimp preferences to User Dashboard

phumes 2 weeks ago 0

We currently use Mailchimp to send and manage our email news blasts. Our subscribers are limited to updating their preferences within mailchimp settings. We would like to add a feature to our User Dashboard (“townnewssite”.com/users/admin/) so that users can manage their Mailchimp preferences, like what is available through Constant Contact.

We need this implemented because we prefer the use of Mailchimp vs Constant Contact for its usability and design capabilities. It has become a burden for our readers to manage two different accounts and our newsroom would like to move towards more streamlined personalization features. We anticipate this improved personalization will make our users turned newsletter subscriber into paying members, which will increase our happiness with the capabilities of TownNews CMS :)