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Default settings for 'Numbered Most Popular' block

George DuMontier 1 week ago 0

I see on the Number Most Popular block, that you can choose a metric. (i.e. Most Viewed, or Most Commented), but what if I leave that radio button unchecked?

Does anyone know if it defaults to one or the other? Or a combination of both?


Facebook Instant Articles

Paul MacNeill 3 years ago • updated by Beverly 4 weeks ago 5

Following up on Rob Weir's question, but with a Facebook focus. A Wordpress plug in was just announced making it easy for all publishers to access instant articles. Does TownNews have a plan to quickly match this?


Yes! We have already built the integration in fact. We haven't yet announced it because we'd like to have a customer go live with it to make sure it works properly and there are no issues. If anyone has a Facebook account that is approved for this, let me know, since it is still technically in beta on the Facebook side. =)




Auto Slideshow

sbates 3 months ago • updated by Laura Beahm 2 months ago 3

We here at our paper would really like to see the auto slideshow functionality reinstated. This is a very nice feature and we actually have partnered with other paper and made a widget using this technology, it is not as effective without it. Hoping we can get some support on this topic.


Webinar: Launch your own turnkey pick’em contests with GamesPerform

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 3 months ago • updated 3 months ago 2

Webinar recording now available.

Launch your own turnkey pick’em contests with GamesPerform

Just in time for football season, kick off ultra-engaging sports challenges—complete with scores, news, user-managed leagues, and expert picks. At our August customer webinar, Gary Stibolt, digital media solutions specialist, and Doug Green, product manager, introduced GamesPerform, a new standalone platform for sports pick’em contests.

Topics included:

  • Creating contests for pro, college, and high school teams with fanbases in your community

  • Generating revenue with lucrative ad spots and sponsorships

  • Using contests to grow your customer marketing database

  • . . . and more!

Ready to get started? Watch it now.


Free online puzzles?

Jason Braverman 3 months ago • updated by Maureen Reinert 3 months ago 1

Came across State Point Media that offers free content -- as well as crossword puzzles and Sudoku. Below the puzzles are "More Puzzles" and "News You Can Use" -- which is their form of sponsored content (and how they make money). Good thing is -- the user is on your page the entire time (unless they click a branded link in the story). 

My question is - does anyone use this service? Anyone have any other options for free puzzles? Do a lot of your readers play? 

Thanks for the insight. 



Paul MacNeill 4 months ago 0

Micropayments are increasingly seen as one component to offset a decline in ROP, at least in Canada. The Winnipeg Free Press, Canada’s second largest independent daily, has successfully pioneered a model. Readers pay .27 cents for the first story. As more stories are read the system works to make the client a full subscriber. We’ve given our news away too long chasing clicks that don’t translate into substantial revenue. This is not a panacea. But it is important. The Canadian industry will see a significant number of papers lock down their sites in the coming year. Micropayments will allow them to still maintain a social media presence while generating revenue. https://www.inma.org/blogs/conference/post.cfm/micropayments-bring-in-new-readers-activate-subscribers-for-winnipeg-free-press


Ability to customize email receipts for marketing.

Mary Shepard 3 years ago • updated 5 months 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.


Guidance on Facebook API review

Elizabeth Stephens 5 months ago • updated by Rob Weir 5 months ago 4

We use Facebook comments, and we have received the request from Facebook to submit for approval. Has anyone started this process? Or is there any guidance available? It shows that we use user_friends, but I can't seem to find a way to show how this is actually used.


Save search result format

Erica Smith 3 years ago • updated by Kevin M. Cox 5 months ago 3

In the editorial section of Blox or TCMS, I can add columns, shuffle them around and just generally set things up in a way that's efficient for me. (Sort by start date, for example, or mark which stories have a site tag or which stories are marked "do not publish.") The next time I log in, the page will be set up the same way. That's great.

But when I'm in an asset and want to add child or sibling assets, the search results don't have the same functionality — I can show or hide columns that are or aren't relevant, move columns around to find what I want, but the next time I go to add a child or sibling asset, I have to do to the same thing again. It's time-consuming and, well, annoying. Any chance of being able to save those search result formats on a user basis?


Webinar | How to create and execute a successful video strategy for local media

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 6 months ago • updated 6 months ago 2

Webinar recording now available. From social media to over-the-top (OTT), everyone is talking about video. At our May customer webinar, Susan Bell, senior product manager of BLOX OTT, discussed this growing opportunity for local media and how to get started.

Topics include:

  • Expanding your audience with digital video.

  • Why you need a video strategy and how to start developing one.

  • How video can help you boost user engagement.

  • . . . and much more.

Watch it now.


Feature request: Add video "start at" time to YouTube assets in TCMS/Blox

Chase Doak 6 months ago 0

We've had a few requests lately regarding YouTube video embeds with a specific start time in the video. For example, one story we had was about political candidates, and we wanted to add video clips of each candidate talking about a specific topic. There's a long video of a candidate forum, but instead of embedding the video from its start and making viewers watch through the whole thing, we wanted to jump to the specific times that each candidate was speaking (see the video below). We ended up having to use HTML assets instead.

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Webinar recording now available | Are you making the most of syndication?

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 7 months ago • updated by anonymous 6 months ago 2

Watch the recording now

The goal of every site is to draw users in and keep them—an engaged userbase usually equates to bigger revenue. At our April customer webinar, Christine Masters, director of product management, and Tim Turner, content program manager, at TownNews.com, shared best practices for making the most of syndication and ways you can make it work for you.

Topics include:

  • Best practices for managing syndicated content in BLOX CMS
  • Examples of our favorite sites using aggregation
  • Tips for getting RSS feeds from the community and other local sites
  • Setting up a group content hub
  • Working with the TownNews.com Content Exchange

FEEDBACK REQUESTED: Social Override Fields

Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 6 months ago • updated 6 months ago 2

We are working on adding new "social override" fields to allow customization of these meta tags at an asset by asset level. The fields would include:

  • Social preview image: Ability to change og:image separate from main photo or teaser image.
  • Social title: By default it is the headline, but can be overwritten here.
  • Social description: By default it is the summary, but can be overwritten.

Here is the part where I would like feedback:

  • Twitter card: By default, we will use the "summary_large_image" setting, unless vertical or too small, in which case it will use "summary." If there is no image, it will use the og:image tag, and will use the "summary."

I can't (right now) create a default per section, so I need some logic that will get close. I think the following:

- We can have horizontal images use summary_large_image, and articles with no image, small images, or vertical images use "summary."

- I could have all articles with images use "summary_large_image," and only articles with small images or mugshot presentation images use "summary." Articles with vertical images would rely on Twitter's photo cropping AI to fix it. Or, an editor could go into the article and create a new social preview that fixes the crop.

- Twitter card could be changed with batch edit.

Let me know what you think!


Thanks Kevin! I've also spoken with some people behind the scenes as well and that seems to be pretty universal right now. Thanks!

Under review

FEEDBACK REQUESTED: "New" flags, "updated" flags, important updates & more

Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 6 months ago • updated by Kevin M. Cox 6 months ago 6

I am reviewing feature requests and other issues surrounding start times and update times of articles. My question to you guys is:

- Is there any reason NOT to turn on important updates?

I'm considering making this feature enabled by default. Meaning, only updates on which you check the "important updates" box will modify the "last modified" time. An unimportant update would still create an entry in the story's revision history (in case you need to track it), but otherwise wouldn't trigger anything on the front end.

As part of this:

- Add "important updates" to all asset types.

- Allow block to be sorted by "update time" (which would include only important updates).

- Add flags or other indicators on the front end when stories are updated or new.

- Add more specific publish date and updated date to front end article (for transparency to readers)

- Remove settings for "important updates" and "add comments to important updates" since they would be default for everyone.



Moving the "Save" and "Cancel" buttons in the asset creation window

Nick 3 years ago • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 6 months ago 20
We've had several times when reporters are writing stories and they accidentally move the mouse a half an inch too far and click "Cancel" when they meant to click "Save." I know in this tech savvy world they should know to save, but at the same time auto-save exists in other programs and so they're used to the system saving for them. I think an easy fix(I changed it in the in-browser CSS code in about 15 seconds) to this would be to move the "Save" button and the "Cancel" button a few inches apart.

That's the easy way. I think another thing that would help this issue would be to add a "Are you sure you want to cancel?" prompt if the "Cancel" is clicked and the asset hasn't been saved in a while.

I know TownNews is proud of its in-browser asset creation, but I think the majority of the reporters here have been burned too many times and just write in a word processor, then copy and paste it in TCMS.