You may recall meeting with Matt Davison from corporate last week to talk about the Digital Now initiative. Well, his report on the Chronicle interviews hit my inbox this morning, and one of the concrete recommendations from that report was that the newsroom staff watch a few training videos for the software that runs our website.
In case you didn’t know, that software is called BLOX, and it is made by a company called TownNews. It is what you call a “content management system” or CMS. It is the program that allows us to publish articles, photos, mp3s, documents and everything else to our website. It also controls the layout of the website and everything right on down to the line spacing on the fonts we use (15-point Helvetica Neue with a 1.325em line spacing for articles, in case you were wondering).
You may or may not know it, but you all have logins for BLOX already. We set them up for you when we launched the new website. If you have ever posted a comment to our website, then you already know your BLOX login information. If you don’t know it, I can find it out for you.
Here’s the point of all this: Reporters at the Chronicle have had blessed little contact with our CMS. Matt Davison from corporate thinks this is a bad thing because you really won’t understand what we are able to do on the website unless you know what the website is capable of.
I happen to think that’s a good idea. I agree with Matt’s desire for the newsroom staff to learn more about BLOX, but there’s just one snag: the training videos are long and often boring to watch.
I would encourage you to endure and watch as many of them as you can. The more you can learn about BLOX, the better you’ll become at generating ideas that could involve unique uses of the website — which ultimately means a more interesting and engaging presentation for our online readers and more in-depth and useful online extras for our print readers.