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Better way to auto populate venues in BLOX calendar tool?

Kyle Whitfield 1 hour ago in BLOX CMS 0

Giving the BLOX calendar tool a try on our website. Disappointed to see there's no good way to help auto-populate a venue from biz listings in an event asset outside from the 10-15 I'm told we could store in the venue library. What can we do to find a better workflow for this? We're talking about several hundred event listings per week in print pulling from thousands of biz listing entries.


Package Blocks

Kevin M. Cox 1 hour ago in BLOX CMS 0

Present breaking news or enterprise projects with new "package" block

Once y'all start using this new block on your site I'd love to see some samples. Please share them here if you remember!


Webinar | Google News Initiative fundamentals training for BLOX CMS

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 4 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 hours ago 2

Watch the recording now.

From reverse image search to trends and alerts, this course teaches practical skills for reporting in the digital age. Nicholas Whitaker, training and development manager for Google News Lab, presented a Google News Initiative fundamentals crash course specifically for BLOX CMS users.

Topics included how to:

  • Finding stories and terms gaining attention.
  • Giving important context by building interactive maps.
  • Checking the authenticity of an eyewitness photo or video.
  • . . . and much more.

Ready to learn more about Google News tools? Watch the recording now.


Feature Request: Save button in the Expanded Editor view of article assets

Kevin M. Cox 1 year ago in BLOX Total CMS • updated 2 hours ago 5

A lot of our staff like using the Expanded Editor view when working in article assets so they can focus on just the body of their story. They are requesting that a Save button be added into this view so they can save (without closing) directly without having to first return to the standard asset view.

Probably the easier thing would be to simply add another bar at the bottom of the window, below the Stats bar, that contains the Save button on the right side. Alternatively adding it into the toolbar at the top of the screen would work just as well.

Please let me know what y'all think.




Infinity Scroll - Card: Summary blocks - Safari

Kevin M. Cox 6 days ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Mario Harrington 3 hours ago 0

I'm very happy to see this new option: 

Encourage engagement with new Infinity Scroll option on "Card: Summary" block

In my testing it seems to be working great in Chrome and Firefox, but not in Safari (desktop or mobile). The little spinning loading graphic just sits there and never loads any other content.

Has anyone else seen this issue on their site? Is it a known issue?

Safari accounts for 42% of our traffic so we need to make sure the feature is working there before enabling it across the site.



Weather inconsistency

Kevin M. Cox 2 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 days ago 3

We just had a reader point out this inconsistency and I'm wondering if anyone else has ever noticed it on their site. In particular this is with the Email Reach | Email: Weather today block.

I've checked past emails and it seems to be consistently in disagreement with itself. Note the high temperature of 102 in red under the graphic and compare it with the "Highs in the upper 80s..." right below it and the "High 89F" in the text forecast at right.


We'll have a fix for this next week.


Subscription Coupon Code

Kevin M. Cox 4 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Mary Shepard 4 days ago 15
We would like to request the option of having a "Coupon Code" function available for new subscriptions on the website.

We envision being able to link specific codes to specific subscription services (e.g. a code would allow a discount on a 7 day print subscription but not on a weekend only).

To be fully functional, the code should include options to select either: $ off, % off or length of free trial.

This would be a huge tool for our circulation/promotions department and we imagine would be a welcome addition for other newspapers as well.

--> Why we're asking:

To give a little more background I thought it might be helpful to give a specific use case. While we see tons of potential for this feature, there is a specific promotion we're trying to develop in the next month and are having trouble seeing a way to do it with the current system.

We're planning on a new subscription marketing push for our newspaper. We'd like to offer potential subscribers a free trial subscription (either print and/or online) to the paper.

In order to make things as easy as possible we'd like them to be able to sign-up online (create a new BLOX user account) and instantly begin their online trial (get behind the paywall) without having to enter a credit card. At the end of their trial period of course we'll offer to make them a subscriber and collect their payment information.

A "coupon code" function seems like the best way to make this happen but of course we are open to suggestions if we can already pull off something similar with existing tools. For example: Is there a way to link directly to a hidden subscription service?

Please let me know what y'all think.


Upgrade needed in system

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe 2 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated 6 days ago 3

Please add the capability of embedding from DocumentCloud.org. They have developed powerful journalism tools that go beyond the usual PDF. Thank you. 


Does anyone have experience with VisionData for online subscriptions?

Nick 1 week ago in BLOX CMS 0

We currently use VisionData for our home delivery circulation management. The intent was to switch online subscriptions over to VisionData too. I'm hesitant to make this switch because it will undoubtedly cause a massive drop-off when everyone who was once on auto-renew has to set up a new subscription in a different system. Their support has also never been stellar. Does anyone here have experience using VisionData for managing online subscriptions?

Under review

GDPR and EAA/EU availability

Rob Weir 4 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 1 week ago 12

Is there a timeline or plan for when sites might be available in the EAA/EU again? I know that the Missourian is somewhat of an outlier, being at a journalism school, but we have a large number of alums and readers in the EU, and also send profs over there to teach quite often. Our London and Brussels programs would sure like to be able to view our content. 

(I know everyone is dealing with this, I don't mean it to be a knock at all, but just want to know what to tell people when they ask me.) 

thanks, Rob 


Feature request: URL/titles for SEO

Kyle Whitfield 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 weeks ago 19

Instead of URLs picking up an asset's title then generating new URLs when titles are changed, could we consider an SEO title field where an editor could manually define a phrase that would appear in a URL? And the URL wouldn't change as the asset's headline changes?

Example: Story about mass shooting in Baton Rouge

SEO/URL title: Baton Rouge mall shooting
Article asset title: 5 dead in Baton Rouge mall shooting

URL (that wouldn't change): theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/baton_rouge_mall_shooting/XYZABC123.html

Right now we shy away from opting for titles in URLs b/c of the mess it creates with multiple URLs per asset.

This would be used very often by us.


Hi guys!

We had a release yesterday which added part of this feature, but it doesn't do everything that is discussed here in this first version.

But, for now, we see two use cases:

==> 1. Publisher has a bad or short title on their article, but they want to be able to expand it in the URL.

So maybe, for some cutesy reason the title of the story is "M13," so your URL would look like this:


Note that we automatically remove numbers, because they are more likely to change, so you end up with a stupid-looking URL basically, with just "m" there!

In these cases, you may want to be able to change the title or change the URL so that you can create something that is more SEO-friendly, and also user friendly (if you share the "m" URL above, it doesn't have any good keywords or let you know anything about it).

Buy with this URL title feature, you can go in there and type something that can be used instead. So you end up with this:


Note that it allows the number to be in there, so that makes things more clear in some cases (like m13 where you need that for SEO, really).

Note that, in theory, it could go the other way as well. You might have a page that has a long page title, but you wanted it to be shorter or more precise (again, for SEO and for usability), you could do that also.

==> 2. Publisher would like their URLs to remain static so it doesn't mess up statistics or other external services such as Facebook comments.

In this situation, it's more that you want the URL to remain the same for statistics, rather than that you want to "fix" it from some unattractive state. The new feature is meant to address the situation above, but it is not likely to fix the statistics issue.

A few thoughts there:

Firstly, software like Chartbeat and Parsley can be updated to key off of the article UUID instead of the URL. 

This will mean that they will all be tracked together regardless of section or title change.

Secondly, we are looking at doing some kind of permanent URL that would remain frozen, but we haven't agreed yet what that would look like. 

Wordpress has a little Edit button that allows this (like Kevin's example). Basically, after the title is written, a few seconds later it populates the "permalink" slug area. If you edit it after it is published, it creates a 404 (that you can fix if you create a 301 redirect manually, it sounds like).

So, in our situation, we could possibly do something like that...

The problem is that BLOX is a little different because many users will actually write content in BLOX that may span many days. It is common that you see an asset in the system that has a start date of 2037 and the title is "Second story about the mayor TK" or whatever. So, in those cases, you'd theoretically end up with that in your URL, even if you change your title later.

It is possible we could tie the URL creation to a workflow status... i.e. it doesn't auto-fill the URL until it its a publish state, and then it freezes.

I have also seen some CMSes where they will have a "generate URL" button that, when pressed, will generate the URL and freeze it.

Interested to hear your thoughts...


Webinar | Introducing BLOX Now, a better mobile app for local media

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 4 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Nick 3 weeks ago 3

Webinar recording now available.

Taking cues from social media, the BLOX Now mobile app eschews conventional news app design in favor of a single, continuously-scrolling stream of community news and events that keeps users engaged. At our June customer webinar, Susan Bell, BLOX Now senior product manager, and Christine Masters, director of product management, introduced the BLOX Now mobile app.

Topics included:

  • Increasing user engagement with a hybrid news and information app.

  • Feature highlights, including: in-stream video playback, push notifications, and convenient fly-out menus.

  • Monetizing your app with Google DFP integration.

  • Managing your app, website, and mobile site in one easy workflow.

  • . . . and much more.

Are you ready to get started . . . now? Webinar recording now available.

Under review

Scheduling blocks

eeckert 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Paul Crawford 3 weeks ago 7

I think a nice feature would be a custom option within a block to schedule it for certain times.

We currently have a few blocks that I only have show up on a single day of the week so I manually disable it when we don't need it.  Having something with the block options itself where I could schedule it to enable and disable itself would be great.


Ability to customize email receipts for marketing.

Mary Shepard 3 years ago • updated 3 weeks ago 8
Email receipts receive on average a 70.90% open rate compared to the 17.19% average of regular email marketing.
It's important to remember that a customers trust is at it's highest right after they complete a transaction with a company.
Email receipts are the easiest way into an inbox, yet they’re the most underutilized form of email marketing, especially when working with Town News.

Having the ability to further communicate with our already engaged customers opens up opportunities to cross sell, upsell, offer discount codes on future transactions, promote social media accounts, set up a feedback loop to better understand the process/customer experience and offer logical next steps to customers who have completed a transaction, submitted content or posted a review.

Today's companies want to reach and engage more customers with every contact and e-receipts are an easy way to do so.


More robust BLOX Go

Brad Boner 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by anonymous 3 weeks ago 7

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.