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.

Under review

Abusing the Report button

Mike Stickler 6 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago 7
Our city was recently debating a "Fairness" ordinance. We had at least one instance where someone used the report button to get a comment taken down (pending approval/moderation) when it obviously was not abusive. I know I can look at the other properties for the comment and see how many times a comment has been reported, but I would like to be able to see a list of users who reported it. I do not want to see the report button used in this manner and if I see a person doing so would love to block them.


Nicholas.farnsworth1 4 months ago in BLOX CMS updated by David Dierker 4 months ago 4

Has anyone ever used webhooks in Blox? Specifically, to update their database?  We use Airtable to store our data and would like to setup a webhook/ zaiper to update and create new records from data collected via forms and other means. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated! 


Webinar | Is your site up-to-date with privacy compliance?

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 4 months ago updated 4 months ago 1

Webinar recording available now.

At this customer webinar, Joe Hansen, senior product manager for TownNews, and Michelle De Mooy, privacy consultant with the Local Media Consortium, discussed steps you can take to be compliant with critical privacy regulations.

Topics included:

  • The latest update on security regulations including GDPR and CCPA
  • An overview of our new integration with OneTrust for cookie compliance
  • Guidelines for privacy considerations for your organization
  • . . . and much more!

Ready to get started? Watch it now.


Parse.ly analytics?

Elizabeth Stephens 5 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Nicholas.farnsworth1 4 months ago 9

Is anyone using Parse.ly as an additional analytics tool? We're getting a six-month trial, but I'm struggling to get the necessary code working on our site through TownNews support. I thought I'd see if anyone had added it I could take a look at how it was added.


Hi guys!

I am actually working on a more official integration with Parse.ly right now. 

- We will be able to handle the UUID issue with their repeated meta tags implementation (you pass it as parsely-post-id in their script options if you want to add it now). https://www.parse.ly/help/integration/metatags/

- We will also count anything that is considered a "virtual page view" in BLOX (such as galleries, vertical galleries, etc.) as dynamic page views in Parse.ly. 

- It should also have AMP and Facebook Instant Articles integration.

It will probably take 3 - 6 weeks to get through our production queue.

As a side note, when I spoke to them today, they are looking at the ?amp issue right now. That doesn't appear to be coming from BLOX so they are looking at that and will let us know if we can help.


Feature request: Auto-approval for events from trusted users

Chase Doak 9 months ago in BLOX CMS updated by Carl Appen 4 months ago 4

We recently were forced to disable auto-approval of calendar events on billingsgazette.com due to an influx of event submissions from spammers. The submissions, which numbered in the hundreds and were mostly links to illegal livestreams of sporting events and current movie releases, were not caught by the spam filter.

We recently were released from an agreement with a calendar feed provider, and are looking at ways of better utilizing the calendar features built into Blox. Unfortunately, we just don't have the resources to curate and approve every calendar event that comes through. Having some extra features in place to make the process easier would certainly be welcome.

I'm proposing that Blox allow us to create a whitelist of trusted users who frequently submit events. This would allow us to disable auto-approval for spammers and new users, but would allow frequent users to have their events show up without our intervention.

Another option would be to disallow auto-approval for accounts created within a recent time span (ex. require manual approval of events submitted by an account that was created within the last 48 hours, but auto-allow events from older accounts).


Feature Request: Specify a block’s date range in “sorting rules”

Tom Houston 4 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

As a broadcast TV station, we will often create pages with “archived” shows and content. Some of this content can span several years. It would be helpful for us to have the ability to surface assets in a block based on a date range. Ideally this feature would be available in the block’s “sorting rules”.

A date range feature would also come in handy if we were to create a special “news” section that would feature a timeline or back-stories that contribute to our overall coverage.

Our current workaround involves either pinning selected stories to a block and then arranging them in chronological order, or tagging each asset with a common hidden keyword (i.e. #myshow-video-2019)


Feature Request: Two-factor authentication for admin accounts

Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

An unauthorized or malicious user gaining access to the backend of either hosted BLOX or TotalCMS could very easily do great harm not only to a newspaper's credibility and reputation but also to the community it serves.

As such, I would like to see the addition of TOTP two-factor authentication for admin accounts in both BLOX and TotalCMS. This would allow newspapers to secure these systems to a higher level than the current password-only authentication allows.

I would be perfectly fine with a simple on/off option that requires all admin accounts to use 2FA, however if we had the ability to get even more granular that would be great as well. In that I mean allowing us to set the 2FA requirement at the Group level when configuring the access rules for a group.

For example, we could require 2FA for anyone with the ability to edit news articles or send push notifications, but not require it for those who only have permission to moderate comments.

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

Helps prevent unauthorized access to the backend of publishing systems and greatly reduces the likelihood that a malicious actor could post fake information or subtly edit news articles.

2. How often would you use this feature?

Every day.

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

All staff members.


Those of you with paywalls, instant way to get more subscriptons!

Jerry Lee smdailyjournal.com 4 months ago in BLOX CMS updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago 2

On the page customizations for COMMENTING there are currently two options:

1) All users can view comments and post comments,


2) Require subscription to view and post

I would like to figure out a way to have an option that allows everyone to view, but ONLY subscribers to post.

This will increase subscriptions for those of us who charge for access or for commenting.

Non-subscribers will see comments, and some may be inspired to comment back, which would require a paid subscription.

Currently, our options are limited to all or nothing. Having the middle ground option

3) All users can view comments, and subscribers can view and post comments

would generate more subscriptions from those folks who feel the need to respond to comments.


Feature request: controlling the order of assets in The River Of News

Thomas Martinez 11 months ago updated by Mariel Tam-Ray 4 months ago 2

For those who use the TownNews e-edition:

We think it's important for our organization to control the assets in the River of News. Right now, according to TownNews, there is no way to control that. Basically, it just shows up in whatever order it does. They think it's feasible, but asked me to put in a feature request.

How important do you think this is? Would you use it to place importance on the the content in your River of News?




Feature request: Taglines in River of News

Mariel Tam-Ray 4 months ago in BLOX Total CMS 0

We've put in a feature request to have taglines to appear in the River of News in our e-Edition. I'm told the asset tagline was never implemented into the segmented article view in the River of News. I'm surprised it isn't already a thing. 

What problem(s) does this idea solve? Why do you need this idea implemented?

Our e-Edition readers are unable to see the bios and contact info of the writers when they're reading articles in the river of news, unless they zoom in on the page view. This is not a big deal for stories written by our regular bylined reporters, but it does leave out an important chunk of information about our numerous op-ed writers.

How often would you use this feature?

Daily, constantly, in maybe 90% of our stories.

How many people in your organization would use this feature?

All, for all e-Edition readers.


Google feed api

Daniel Buford 5 years ago updated by David Dierker 4 months ago 2
I'm trying to add several feeds my mobile site using google's feed api. I've gotten the feed to work and when viewed from the desktop site everything works properly. However, in the mobile site adding the html causes other widgets not to display or to display improperly.
I'm including a copy of the code I'm using. Any ideals would be helpful.

#wrapper {
width: 100%;
max-width: 620px;
margin: auto;
padding: 0px;
font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
.gfc-resultsHeader {
display: none;

<!-- RSS -->
<script src="http://www.google.com/jsapi" type="text/javascript"></script>http://www.google.com/jsapi</a>" type="text/javascript">
<script type="text/javascript">
google.load("feeds", "1");
function OnLoad() {
var feedControl = new google.feeds.FeedControl();
<!-- RSS END -->

<div data-role="header" data-theme="b" class="ui-header ui-bar-b" role="banner">
<h4 style="text-align:left; margin-left:15px" class="ui-title" role="heading" aria-level="1">Word of the day</h4>
<div id="wrapper">
<div id="WOTD">Loading...</div>
<!-- RSS FEED END -->

Feature Request for Ad Owl: Preview Ad for Online Only Ads in Ad Owl

Karen Triplett 4 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

I have had customers request to preview an Online Only ad in AdOwl before they submit payment. At this time only the a print ad has a preview.


API for print and digital subscriptions

Mark Poss 3 years ago updated by Nicholas.farnsworth1 4 months ago 1

Has anyone partnered with a third party to create an elegant interface for customers to purchase print or digital subscriptions that would also handle the ez pay recurring payments.  Was thinking about something that would dump a file daily to my archaic circ system that does a fine job of handling my mailed papers but doesn't handle the e-commerce piece.

Under review

Option to export a query of business listings in Marketplace

Jacki Gray 6 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Nicholas.farnsworth1 4 months ago 2
I don't see an option to export a query of business listings in Marketplace. For example, after doing a search of funeral homes or florists in Marketplace>Businesses, I would like to export that list to use in print. We use the businesses to create online service directories. We would like to use the same information in print (at least business name, address, phone number, logo).
Under review

Export custom user fields

Maureen Reinert 5 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Nicholas.farnsworth1 4 months ago 2

Does anyone know how to export the custom fields that we are adding when our users register. I see the data on the Custom tab of the users' accounts, but when I export the users to a csv file the only fields that are exported are

screenname email account_type firstname lastname createtime authtime country address municipality region postcode phone gender birthday

There's nothing in the TN documentation about this. The documentation tells you how to add a custom field to the registration form, but it's not much good if we can't export that information.