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.


Reporter Analytics

Nic Stevens 1 year ago in BLOX CMS updated by Joe Hansen (Product manager) 1 year ago 1

Does anyone have a good way to pull the number of stories as well as length from BLOX? I'm trying to create a report to track how many stories per week each reporter is putting into BLOX and how long they are. I'm finding how many but not how long. 


Nic, we have a new deep analytics platform called Data Insights that provides this data as well as a great deal more. You can get some information about it here https://townnews.com/news_room/townnews-to-launch-data-insights-a-powerful-new-way-for-media-companies-to-analyze-and/article_b0e65482-1db5-11ea-9b8b-3b88e060517c.html or contact your sales representative to get a demo of the product.


Feature request: Summary options

scott.rada 1 year ago in BLOX CMS 0

There is currently a 40-word limit built into the templates for summaries in RSS. I'd suggest having a URL setting where you can define desired number of words and/or use full summary when one exists.


NowApp custom alert tone

Eric R 1 year ago in BLOX CMS 0

I would strongly suggest that you add the ability for us to have a custom alert tone for the NowApp.  Having a distinct alert tone sets our push notifications apart from all other news apps (or for that matter, any other sounds your device might make).

Several other news apps have this capability, and I'd like to see the NowApp have this as well.

Under review

Story edit button for logged in admins on public site (like Wordpress)

Kevin M. Cox 5 years ago in BLOX CMS updated 1 year ago 3

I wanted to make the suggestion for Wordpress-style behavior that would display an Edit button on every article when the system detects that the logged in user is an admin. Clicking the button would then take the user to the asset in the BLOX admin for editing the story.

This would be very handy when an editor notices a typo and needs to quickly make a fix.

Now for papers like us that have TotalCMS obviously it would be much more complicated to implement; but wow, it would be awesome if it could be pulled off and open the TotalCMS admin panel with that asset selected in a search.

Either way it would be a cool feature for publications that only use Town News for their website.


Buttons for Posting to Social Media

dprint 1 year ago in BLOX CMS 0

We want to suggest a button in the backend for banner ads to be able to send our ads to our social media pages. We have customers that are currently requesting that their website ads be pushed out on social media for an upcharge. Creating these buttons would make this easy and efficient for us to do quickly instead of having to log into each individual account and post it. I know this is possible, because our classifieds at https://classifieds.douglas-budget.com/ allow us to share this when you click on one of the ads.


Feature request/bug fix: Scroll wheel functionality on e-edition pages

Chase Doak 1 year ago in BLOX CMS 0

A reader came into our office today with a couple of e-edition questions (one was about how to print portions of the e-edition - I started a feature request for this a few months back https://community.townnews.com/communities/1/topics/1241-feature-request-e-edition-clip-and-print-tool)

He said that he often uses the auto-scroll feature that is built into most mouse devices that have a scroll wheel, where if you click the wheel, a cursor pops up allowing the user to scroll up or down at an adjustable speed. That functionality is disabled in the e-edition due to the click-and-drag hand cursor that works with the left mouse button. I'm wondering if it's possible to re-enable the scroll wheel/third button functionality without disabling the hand cursor. If you need further clarification as to what I am talking about, let me know


Feature Request: Auto-moderation, hide comments instead of removing them

Kevin M. Cox 1 year ago in BLOX CMS 0

We had a reader make a suggestion that I like and want to submit as a feature request.

Currently, when the abuse report auto-moderation is tripped the comment is completely removed from the website and replaced with text that reads "comment deleted."

How about giving sites the configuration option to have these auto-moderated comments hidden by default instead of automatically removed. The system could display something along the lines of "This comment has been reported as inappropriate and hidden from view. To read it click here:"

It could then unfurl and display after the user has acknowledged they want to read it anyways.

If an admin later approves the comment that warning would disappear and it would become un-hidden by default again.

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

Allows the automating hiding of potentially inappropriate comments while preventing brigading that allows users to completely remove a comment they disagree with until an admin has time to review it.

2. How often would you use this feature?


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

All readers.

Under review

Abusing the Report button

Mike Stickler 7 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Kevin M. Cox 1 year 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.

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

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 1 year ago updated 1 year 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 6 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Nicholas.farnsworth1 1 year 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 2 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Carl Appen 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year 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 1 year ago in BLOX CMS updated by Kevin M. Cox 1 year 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 2 years ago updated by Mariel Tam-Ray 1 year 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?