New Feature Development Process

Open Source? We Do One Better, You Suggest and We Develop

Published: Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Updated: Thursday, June 18, 2009 13:06

Some criticism is made of professional software packages about how the development process is closed off.  While it is true that our software is developed by professional developers only, we see this as a necessary and positive arrangement for the news organizations with which we work.

With the turnover in college newsrooms each semester, it is advantageous to have a business partner and technology vendor that can retain the knowledge built up each semester that can get lost when staff changes. Plus, College Media Network is trying to raise the profile of the journalism in college so we want to enable our partners to focus their energies on producing news that is compelling.

Most major news outlets in the digital realm are looking for journalists that can write for the web and produce multimedia content like video and audio packages. That is the core purpose of this site -- to educate to that end.

And while there is a place for developers in the news industry, the ability (while desirable) to program a CMS is not the cornerstone of the next generation journalist. In the professional work-force, advanced developers will likely be working for the vendors of the newspaper, not the newspaper itself. Given the high value placed on those specific skills and knowledge combined with the lack of capital for news outlets to employ the best people, developers, though important, just aren't the future of journalism.

That said, CMN knows that the CP5 system must be ever-evolving to keep pace with the needs of the college newsroom.  We welcome the expertise of any newspaper staff that is knowledgeable in code – we have internship opportunities and are open to engaging in side projects that have clear revenue-driving potential.

Currently, we focus our development efforts on the weaknesses of the software and the most broadly asserted feedback on new features. Overall, we are always looking to make processes easier and faster as well as provide new tools for digital storytelling.

We see this site as a great way to stay in touch with the staff members who work in the trenches on CP5.   As it has been the modus operandi for the last 10 years, CMN always has a very ambitious and detailed development plan that extends three to six months in the future (as well as looser, longer term plans) based on newspaper feedback and trends in the market.

We plan on using the web editor blog to update bug fixes and items on the development queue. As the landscape is ever-changing in digital publishing, our objectives shift to best serve the market.  We will look at the blog comments for feedback on this process.

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