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Quick cropping tool for 4:3 and 16:9 for FLEX

Nick 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Ellen Meany 2 months ago 17

With FLEX's reliance on 4:3 and 16:9 cropping it would seem that many photos will end up cropping off the subject in order to adhere to the ratio. And most sites surely have some blocks that pull an asset in 16:9 and others that pull the same asset in 4:3. I propose a quick-crop tool that allows users to select crops for both ratios without the user having to work out the math or upload a previously cropped photo.

I'm thinking something like the image below that would allow users to select the ratio in a dropdown box and blocks would pull the appropriate ratio.

Would anyone else with FLEX use that?


Hearken, Groundsource, and the LenFest Institute grant - does BLOX integrate?

Jay Allred 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Maureen Reinert 2 months ago 1

Does anyone have any experience integrating Hearken or Groundsource with BLOX?

You may have heard, but in case you haven't, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is offering a 650k grant to help newsrooms deepen engagement with audiences using either of these tools.We are considering going for the grant, but I am having a hell of a time getting anyone from TN / Blox to tell me if the tools will work inside our system. 

Any experience or confirmation from the mother ship?



Feature Request: Require active subscription to post comments

Kevin M. Cox 6 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 3

We're seeing a large increase in comment spam lately so I'd like to formally make the feature request for something that I know I talked to support about in the past. We require email confirmation when new accounts are created but obviously the spammers have automated their way around that.

I'd like an option to require an active subscription to post comments on the site. This offers numerous benefits to all Town News customers:

• Provides another perk or subscriber benefit to paying readers.

• Potential to increase Day Pass sales for those who aren't subscribers but really want to share their opinion or comment.

• Reduces comment spam to virtually zero.

I could see it being useful to allow this setting to be toggled per URL/section so that for example you could allow anyone to comment on obituaries but not news stories.

1. All of the items listed above.

2. Every day.

3. Every reader.

Please let me know if anyone has thoughts or questions!




Subscription Coupon Code

Kevin M. Cox 4 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by boi90 2 months ago 14
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.


How does one configure a block to display on mobile only?

Kathy Kolb 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 months ago 1

How does one configure a block to display on mobile only? I want to add a block that will only show on a mobile device. 


Hi Kathy! It is easy! We use Bootstrap visibility classes. Check out this doc:


So in this case, you would add visible-xs (for just smartphones, mostly) to the "CSS class" area of the block.


Animated GIFs used to work

Aidian 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 2

I used to be able to run animated GIFs in stories, and on section fronts/homepages IIRC.  But trying to do one Friday and another today and they're not displaying.

Did something change, or am I finally going crazy?


I have no Associated Press selection in channel manager settings.

Jeff Sebestyen 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 2

I am attempting to follow the instructions from How Do I Set Up an Associated Press Syndication Channel? but when I create a channel, I do not have an AP option.  Only CNN, Blox, RSS, and YouTube. 


Hi Jeff!

You'll need to send a ticket to our Customer Support team, and ask that you have the "entitlement" for Associated Press installed. They will send it through our permission system and it will add this software to your site. AP has asked that we keep track of who is using their software in this way.

Once installed, you'll need your AP username and password, and then it will provide you with the feeds to which your account is authorized.

Hope this helps! Thanks! =)


Email Reach Stocks widget

Kevin M. Cox 2 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

Has anyone built a Stocks widget for the Flex Email Reach similar to the Email Reach | Email: Weather forecast block?


Character count for Calendar description

Ellen Meany 2 months ago in BLOX Total CMS 0

When we export self-service calendar listings for print, we'd like to be able to limit the word count without a lot of hand editing. To do this, it would help if the description field could be limited, especially for those listings that choose a print upsell. Say 250-300 characters max, with a countdown that tells the person entering the listing how much space they have left. 

This could also be a separate, short description field, perhaps, so the long version, if needed, could run online.  


Feature suggestion: Content blocks should not count as paragraphs for in-story ad purposes

Brendan 2 months ago in BLOX CMS 0


This is a suggestion to change some terms for the in-story ads. I know that the first one is supposed to show up after 3 paragraphs, but when you include a content block – a mugshot, or a link to a related article, for example – it counts those as a paragraph, often leading to blank space above the first ad block. An example of this can be found here.

If those did not count as paragraphs for ad spacing purposes, it would be better for spacing purposes.


Brendan Hartsell


Creating an event from the user dashboard should have the same fields and options as creating an event from BLOX.

Jason 2 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

When I create a new Sale Event within BLOX for an advertiser, I am prompted to enter a “Business” and a “Venue”. This works great for our needs because our Sale Events are cattle sales and the actual sale will often take place away from the ranch that is presenting the sale. Both the ranch and sale facility receive exposure. We want our readers/advertisers to be able to submit their own Sale Events from their user dashboard. But currently, they are not prompted to enter a “Business” and a “Venue”.

These two Sale Event creation methods should match.

Under review

Feature Request for Ad Owl: Include the Order Approved email in the Email Templates

Preston Gibson 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Phil Pracht (Product Manager) 2 months ago 3

For ad orders of print+online packages with Ad Runs defined by a Weeks (vs. Days) schedule, the system-generated email constructs a message which communicates a start date which aligns with the initial print edition date.  This messaging is inconsistent with our service delivery standard (online ads are published asap, in advance of print publication).  This errant messaging either fosters customer dissatisfaction or adds an administrative burden.  We can manually overwrite the message, but desire an automated solution.  We could construct a satisfactory email message, if this email were accessible via Email Templates.


Feature request: URL/titles for SEO

Kyle Whitfield 1 year ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 9

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.

Under review

Live "blogging" article updates

Robert 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 months ago 3

We're interested in doing "Live" blogging or article updates. Previously we've just relied on Live Twitter Feeds in articles, but something more substantial would be better for the direction we're wanting to go.

Does anyone have a service that works well with BLOX? Any limitations or potential issues, such as the ~5 minute cache?

Are there any plans for implimenting a Live Blog/Article service in BLOX? Would be fantastic for stories about council meetings, elections, sports games to name a few. Possibly tying it closer to the mobile version of the back end would mean our reporters could do updates on-the-fly and on the field.


Geotargeting doesn't seem to be accurate

Nick 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 2 months ago 1

From time to time we have some national brands that want to advertise on our website. Many of those are only interested in certain zip codes. The problem is that I look up my IP online and some websites show I'm in the correct city but others show me in a different state entirely. BLOX seems to be the former in this instance and therefore I don't see the ads. This cuts out a lot of our ad impressions. I've even gone so far as to set a radius 100 miles from my zip code and still get nothing.

So is there anything that can be done to more accurately pinpoint where our users are located? Does anyone else ever experience this?


Hi Nick!

On the desktop, we use IP address and, as you have experienced, it is really sketchy. You may be going through a VPN and that will also make things really crazy. On mobile, we use the device location, which is a lot better.

That being said, if you are looking at doing more advanced advertising techniques, I would recommend Google DFP. We have built-in integration with it, and everything is relatively easy to set up. And they have a free version! :)