Welcome to the TownNews customer community! Connect with other TownNews customers and with us to suggest features, share best practices and ask questions.

Though TownNews representatives often participate in discussions, this is not a customer service site. For immediate help, call 800-293-9576 or submit a support request via our online ticketing system.


Flex search utility not indexing authors

Eman Elshahawy 1 week ago in BLOX CMS 0

There's currently no feature that allows author names of articles to be indexed by the search utility. It only works if the byline is entered in manually as opposed to adding an author by registered user account with the CMS. The only way to access a curation of all of the author's articles is to find an article they wrote and click on their author name, where it prompts to a url address like this www.siteaddress.com/users/profile/authorfirstname%20lastname/

Under review

Staff Directories / Newsletter sign up pages

Crindalyn Lyster 4 months ago in BLOX CMS updated by Thomas Martinez 1 week ago 8

Does anyone have examples of staff directory pages they've created outside of static HTML pages on their sites? How about newsletter list landing pages that are more than the out of the box "list" of newsletters available. 


Webinar | Tips and resources for weathering the coronavirus crisis

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 2 weeks ago in BLOX CMS updated 2 weeks ago 1

Webinar recording now available.

At this special webinar, the TownNews team shared ideas and best practices for serving your audience and generating revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.

Topics included:

  • How to quickly build a high-traffic special section to cover breaking news with BLOX CMS.
  • Leveraging the TownNews Content Exchange Network to augment your local coronavirus coverage with nationwide content.
  • Using subscription rules to disable your paywall/meter for specific sections of your site.
  • Hosting virtual business and career fairs to strengthen ties to your community and grow revenue.
  • Using programmatic advertising—and the expertise of the iQ Ad Ops team—to generate incremental revenue from breaking news traffic spikes.

Ready to get started? Watch it now.


Add "Breaking" flag to video assets

Jared F 2 weeks ago 0

This is a feature request to add the Breaking flag to video assets. 

1.WHAT PROBLEM DOES THIS SOLVE:  this allows us to use a LIVE VIDEO ASSET as a breaking news item on our site.  It provides easy access to one or multiple live streams in the case of breaking news.

2. HOW OFTEN WOULD WE USE IT: Often. Sometimes multiple times a day


As broadcasters, our life blood and competitive advantage is video. The easier we can streamline the process for our viewers, the better for everyone.


Advertorial / paid content

Marie 1 month ago updated 3 weeks ago 3

Curious if any sites are having success with doing paid advertorials or sponsored articles, and if so, how do you separate them from news content or do you have a specific place on site where they are placed?


Set up "SPONSORED" content flag to flow into email newsletters

Bruce Potter 3 weeks ago in BLOX CMS 0

"Sponsored content" is becoming a larger part of news organizations' revenue offerings to advertisers. But it's important that sponsored content be flagged as such in all formats to ensure the reader can differentiate between what is sponsored and what is actual news content. So we use the "SPONSORED" flag when posting articles through BLOX. However, when we pull articles into an email newsletter, the "SPONSORED" flag does not show up in the newsletter, so the content appears in the newsletter just like any other editorial content. We'd just like the option to have the "SPONSORED" flag show up in the newsletter, and ideally, for the sponsored content to be somehow distinguished, such as a shaded background. This would avoid confusing the reader and keep the delineation clear between actual news content and sponsored content.


Anyone have any suggestions on how to best handle quickly-updating stories?

Kyle Whitfield 4 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Eric R 3 weeks ago 11

So let me pose this scenario:

We've got a story on our the site. Let's say the New Orleans Saints are making roster cuts on deadline day. Our guys are updating their story w/ new player names every couple of minutes. The story tells readers to 'check back frequently' or 'reload the page' for the latest info. How can we best display this info in BLOX so that people who visit a page frequently during a breaking story actually see the most up-to-date info?


Here is the doc which discusses how you can use flags to reduce caching times for important articles:


As the doc says, there are a few limitations, but in general you'll get updates about every minute or so.

However! Note that this does not affect the users' local browser cache. That is still subject to a 5-minute cache. (You could, if you could find the right words, tell users to force reload the page. It is different in different browsers though, so I'm not sure if there could be an elegant way to say this.)

So this doesn't really work for "live blogging" - but it should address the needs of corrections and story updates and breaking news that you want to push to the front page.

We did have a discussion internally today about some enhancements we can make to bring us closer to having some kind of live blogging environment... I will look into that as a possible future feature.


Anyone else getting spammed on form submissions?

Elizabeth Stephens 2 months ago in BLOX CMS updated by Randy Drilingas 4 weeks ago 2

We have been getting tons of spam submissions via a feedback form on our site. It's regarding CBD and vaping stuff. TownNews says it's people submitting so a spam filter or recaptcha wouldn't stop it. But just curious if others are seeing anything similar. Ours just started in the last month.


More fine-tuned controls on "Buy Now" buttons on photos

Graham R. Archer 3 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 4 weeks ago 6

Hey folks, I submitted an idea to Town News, and they said I should post it here to see if this development idea would help others, too. Anything else think this would be helpful?

The idea is basically to add a few new controls — either on the section level or on specific photo types — to allow editors to turn off the "buy now" button on all mugs, all crime stories, or other examples like that.

Town News asked me to answer these questions:

What problem(s) does this idea solve? Why do you need this idea implemented? Provide as many problems or use cases as possible.

A: There are dozens of photos used daily on our website that we do not want to sell. Many of these get automated tags that remove the "buy now" button (AP photos, for instance), and that's great. But still a large number of photos get manually tagged with #nosale to keep that button hidden. It would be very helpful to have more specific, targeted and automated ways to blacklist some photos from being sold. For instance, we NEVER want to sell a photo of a criminal who just committed some heinous crime. And a huge number of the mugs we run on our website are handouts that we can't sell, and even the ones that are ours are not any real source of revenue. My proposal would be that we have some ability to turn on/off the "Buy now" button for specific photo types (like all mugs) or sections (so you could turn off sales for all photos attached to stories categorized as crime, for example).

How often would you use this feature?

A: This would be used daily. The automated button removal would impact dozens of stories and several dozen photos each day.

How many people in your organization would use this feature?

A: All online editors would gain from this function, and reporters would no longer have to alert online staff to photos that got missed during the tedious and error-prone manual #nosale application process. Dozens of employees would be impacted.


Hi guys!

We have now added more logic to our "automated" photo sales option. See this updated doc:


We have also added the ability to turn off photo sales per section (via custom properties), as well as batch update photo sales.

Hope this helps!



Copying e-Edition pages from one edition rto the next

lmcbride 4 weeks ago in BLOX CMS 0

We have five pages that we want to add to the daily e-Edition, Each page has segmented areas that link to interactive puzzles on our website. We want the ability to copy these pages from one e-Edition to another without  having to re-segment the pages each day.

Under review

Facebook comment count

Nick 4 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by anonymous 1 month ago 8
It seems like the comment count when using Facebook comments don't display the number of comments when viewing a list of assets in a block like "asset index: headline list" or "asset index: main index." It would be really nice to be able to display the number of comments to encourage readers to check the comments others have left. I know sometimes I will click on an article even if I know the story just to see what other people are saying.
Michael Becker 4 years ago

TownNews actually rolled out a comment count for Facebook, so I rolled back my customizations. Your comment dashboard would be at https://developers.facebook.com/tools/comments/YOUR_APP_ID_HERE

Under review

Elections 2020 - what would your media organization want?

Joe Hansen (Product manager) 6 months ago in BLOX CMS updated 1 month ago 12

We are considering building a new "simple" elections platform for the 2020 election cycle and beyond. This would be more streamlined and easy to use than the old Election Stats, and would include AP election data for state and national elections, leaving you to focus on local. You'd still need to update your local race results as often as you want to make them available for your visitors, but the state and national would be automatic.

I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts on what you would like to see. Is this something your site could use?

What functionality would you want in such a product?

How are you currently handling election results?


Webinar | Meet SmartSend: Offer advertisers an easy, low-cost way to connect with their customers

Join us on March 5th @ 10:30 AM CDT

At our March customer webinar, we’ll introduce SmartSend, an all-new text and email marketing app that allows your clients to easily send instant, direct messages to their customers. Your advertisers will love the outstanding response rates that text messaging provides—you'll love the effortless upsells and new digital marketing revenue stream!

Topics will include:

  • An overview of SmartSend, an intuitive app that your clients can use to send texts and emails to their customers. It’s as easy as posting to social media!
  • Success stories from businesses who are using SmartSend to send offers, coupons, invitations, and more.
  • How you can start using SmartSend to easily generate NEW revenue from local advertisers.

Ready to get started? Join us on March 5th at 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.


Webinar | Upgrade your email newsletters with our FREE optimization service

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

Webinar recording now available

Upgrade your email newsletters with our FREE optimization service

When it comes to audience engagement, email is still tops. But how do you know you’re getting the best possible results from your email newsletters? At our February customer webinar, Tim Turner, director of content and data services for TownNews, introduced a new, FREE optimization service that will help you deliver real results with ultra-engaging email campaigns.

Based on proven best practices, our team will work with you to:

  • Double your existing newsletter signups (on average)
  • Increase email opens and clickthroughs with new, optimized templates
  • Create newsletters that appeal to a variety of key target audiences
  • Maximize your local and programmatic advertising strategy

Ready to get started? Watch it now.