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.

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Are you #LocalMediaProud?

In newsrooms everywhere, our customers are gathering, analyzing, and presenting the news and information that is vital to every healthy community.


To help spread the word about the critical work you're doing, we've created the #LocalMediaProud hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We'd love to see pics of your team, in the newsroom and on the job. Don't be shy, we know you're out there. :)


Share your newsroom pics to #LocalMediaProud today!

Aaron Gillette

Marketing director

TownNews

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Under review

Tracking widget traffic

Tom Jones 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 1 month ago 3

Our sites use some variation of a block that updates with trending article links - they may be autopopulated based on defined rules or editor selected or some combination of both. We're trying to track the traffic that jump from these links into our articles.

Currently, the only solution available is entering UTM code data in via the block settings. This appears to be part of TN settings to only offer it this way.

However, as UTM codes are only designed to work with referral traffic and not from the same domain/GA property as the destination, there's a known issue where it can essentially 'break' the current user session. 


What will happen is that when a user clicks on a same-domain/GA property UTM coded link their current session will end and a new session will begin on the new page. This creates a data accuracy issue that can't easily be fixed without abandoning the UTM tracking effort.

There are 2 other known solutions to track this traffic - hashtag anchor fragment usage or TN events.


Preferably would like to use TN events as long as it's clear which widget the action occurred on and where the user went. Would think this could be accomplished by labeling the Category as 'Widget Tracking' (or something else that makes it obvious), the Action as the name of the widget as it appears on the site, and Label is the Page Title for where the user jumped to. 

Alternatively, appending a url with #widgetname instead of UTM coding would be searchable in GA's All Pages report but requires making some GTM updates https://www.simoahava.com/gtm-tips/track-url-fragments-as-pageviews/ - this could be a messy process if it interferes with other GA manipulations. 

Either would have to be developed. 

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Completed

Webinar | What’s new at TownNews

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

Webinar recording now available.

What’s new at TownNews

Engage your audience and earn more revenue with these features and updates you may have missed. At our November customer webinar, Christine Masters, director of product management, and Susan Bell, product manager for BLOX OTT and the BLOX Now app, will highlight the recent advancements you need to know about.

Topics will include:

  • An overview of our revamped mobile reporting interface
  • New revenue opportunities in BLOX Business Directory
  • Improved home screen navigation for BLOX OTT
  • The latest BLOX CMS speed and security enhancements
  • . . . and much more!

Ready to get started? Watch it today.

Answer

ICYMI: Find the webinar recording and slide deck here.

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Completed

Webinar | Video 101: Producing live events for local media

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 1 month ago 2

Webinar recording now available.

When local events happen—from public forums to sporting events to live music—your community looks to you for quality coverage. At our October customer webinar, Derek Gebler, vice president of broadcast and video, will show how easy it can be to produce live video coverage of local events, and distribute your video content to the world with TownNews.com’s integrated digital solutions.

Topics will include:

  • The benefits of producing live video during local events.

  • A pre-flight plan, including a gear checklist, equipment testing, and working with the venue.

  • Camera placement, sound recording, and off-site monitoring.

  • Using VideoLink to live stream to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and your own website.

  • Post-event editing, distribution, and analytics.

  • . . . and much more!

Ready to get started? Watch it today.

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We are looking at integration options for audience tools like OptinMonster.

Jay Allred 1 month ago in BLOX CMS 0

https://optinmonster.com/


Any experience, success stories, killer integrations with tools like these?
+2

Expanding the class CSS to individual links on menus

W. Rags. 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 4

Allowing for a simple class='' option on each menu link.  Once that option is available, then it will be up to the end-user (us) to define the class within your system, and chose to use it on the link.  Updating would be as simple as changing the class name on the link in the editor.


You already do this for each 'block'.  It just needs extending to the links within the menu blocks.  Fairly simple feature, and one that wouldn't impact much on your system, but it would bring a lot of flexibility to the entire system, especially if you extended it to other items as well.  Each 'item' (html entity) then has a class='' field that contains a user managed variable that could be controlled in your editor.  I can imagine some very fancy work done, using this alone, and without you having to do anything extra after implementation.

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Under review

Anyone else getting spam redirects on mobile devices?

Nick 9 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by W. Rags. 2 months ago 19

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?

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Twitter Timeline Ads Program

Kevin M. Cox 2 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

We got an invite to this new program, anyone else currently participating or have thoughts to share?

https://media.twitter.com/en_us/article-container/articles/generic/the-twitter-timeline-ads-program.html

+1

Ban commenting not user

Nic Stevens 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 2
I would love to be able to ban someone from commenting without locking them out of their web site account. We have a column called It's Your Call and routinely we have people that push the limits and we have to determine if they are a subscriber BEFORE we can ban them because if they are a subscriber and we ban them, they can no longer get onto the web site. It's quite horrid to handle because you have to remember who you warned and once you banned them, you have to decide if you give them part of their subscription price back. We are on Facebook commenting for most things but this piece because we like the engagement it brings to the web site. Just sometimes don't like the comments. It's becoming weekly we have to make this call anymore. I also feel this would go along way to keep more and more pages with TownNews commenting instead of moving to Facebook commenting.

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A new view option for our uploaded publications.

randy 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 2 months ago 1

We need the ability for optimal, simple navigation of our archived pdf publication by being able to

1: view either one or both pages full-screen without cutting the pages off. They need to fit the screen, and

2: then the ability to zoom in or out as one pleases.

3: This ability exists within an Adobe pdf, of which our publications can be downloaded, but some of our readers are not interested in downloading instructions or aren't fluent at downloading files so we need them to be able to easily read the publication online as if they were in an Adobe pdf, so that it takes as little thought as possible.

4: Also, to retain the option to view in the current format. The current format which doesn't allow zooming is still a good format, it just lacks the option to zoom in or out, or to view the spreads on screen.

5: The default format should be the one we are requesting, the "Adobe Reader pdf" format with spread viewing and zooming capability.

+11
Planned

Allow users to register while creating a new subscription

Rob Weir 1 year ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Rich Griffin | Product Manager (Product Manager) 2 months ago 8

Hi there -- our newsroom has been frustrated for awhile with the logic in the subscription module that requires users to register for the newspaper's website before buying a subscription. It's creating a bit of friction when e.g. we want to give out a complimentary subscription to an advertiser or other user, and is also a difficult workflow for some of our users if they don't get a confirmation email for registration. 


I understand the logic of registration being different from subscription status; and I also understand the internal logic of someone needing a registration before they buy a subscription. However, I'm wondering if the subscription page could be streamlined, either to allow people to register while buying a subscription or to create a user registration record as part of a new subscription (that is, prompt for a username when purchasing a subscription). 


Thoughts on that? 

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Feature Request: Magazine style e-Editions

Kevin M. Cox 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Robert Armstrong 2 months ago 1

We'd like to submit a request for magazine style "flip book" e-Editions, similar to Issuu with double-truck views:

https://issuu.com/galvnews/docs/coast_monthly_april_2017

Right now we are having to host these off-site to have this magazine view that readers like.

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

It allows for magazines and other special sections that aren't newspapers to be hosted in the native BLOX e-Edition.

2) How often would you use this feature?


At least monthly.

3) How many people in your organization would use this feature?

Everyone, including all readers.

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Option for a native PDF reader?

Robert Armstrong 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 2

How PDF documents are displayed is a bit underwhelming.


Are there any plans to have a PDF reader added to BLOX so that we can display a PDF in the browser, rather than making the user download it just to view?

Adding in something native in like https://pdfobject.com/ would be simple, but I would love something more robust like https://issuu.com/ or https://www.scribd.com

+6

Templates and GIT

Alex Golovin 5 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by David Dierker 2 months ago 3

It would be great to use GIT version control system to be able to get updates from TownNews base skins to be able to keep our modified (or branded) skins up to date. This would be easier to maintain up to date and helpful with trouble-shooting as tools such as diff could be used to see what has been changed.


Pulling updates, merging and pushing to git repositories or remote points, that would be then used by blox as source for the templates/skins would be amazing!



+5

Modify Public-facing "Create an Event" form for multiple but non-recurring events

mcgregora 2 months ago 0

Quite often the "Create an Event" tool that is hosted on our website for

the public to enter events into our calendar labels events as Spam.

This occurs especially when someone is trying to create an event that

occurs multiple times but doesn't exactly meet recurring event criteria -

like a theater show that is performed three days in a row, but at different

times of day; or a presentation that happens 2 times in one day.

Because they can't use the recurring events function they attempt to

create a separate event for each date and time, typically the first one

they enter works but the subsequent events are rejected as Spam.

As a result, we fairly regularly receive emails or calls from people who

are getting tripped up by this. The solution we are trying now is to

simply turn the Spam filter off. Time will tell if this solution is

worse than the problem.

My idea is to modify the public-facing "Create an Event" form.

The form currently has an "Occurs" selection field - with options for

Once, Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Yearly - to handle the recurring

events. When the recurring choices are selected the form adapts and

presents more fields to define the recurrence in the When section.

Could there be an occurs "Multiple" option that would then present

additional Date and Time fields? When "Multiple" is selected a secondary

selector field could appear asking "# of Additional Times" with options

for, say, 1-10. With that selection the form would then present the

extra Date and Time fields, for instance labeled Date #2, Time #2; Date

#3, Time #3; Date #4, Time #4; etc.