The pandemic has served as a stress test for publishers and newsrooms on many fronts. For example, where do they stand on their digital transformation journey? How can they produce quality content remotely (the decentralised newsroom)? How should they tweak (or start) their paid-content strategies? It has also served as a good gauge of how their content management systems can – or cannot – help advance or manage all of the above.

For many newsrooms it remains a struggle to implant a digital-first culture in the minds of staff when, let’s face it, many of their strategies, contents and products still revolve around print – which, by the way, still brings in most of the revenue. But the pandemic laid bare those publishers and newsrooms that are digital­ and audiences first ready – and those that are not.

A key tool in any newsroom’s operation is its CMS. The right choice and optimal implementation of a modern CMS can go a long way to help make the cultural shift necessary to meet your audiences’ demands.

But what is required of a CMS today?

WAN-IFRA conducted a survey of nearly 80 news media executives this past spring to essentially let publishers build their case for what they need from a CMS today – and going forward. And nearly 50 percent of respondents said they were indeed currently looking to invest.

There is a paradigm shift in the expectations of today’s CMS, in how it can and should create added value for a media company that wants to accelerate its digital transformation. Quite simply, the investment is a broader strategic decision than ever before.

And investing in a CMS is never an easy affair, especially considering all the demands on newsrooms today, staff, and their systems. They need to be robust and secure enough for remote work, ease of integration with (increasingly more) data tools, CRM, content monetisation, social, etc., have lightning speed, flexibility, seamless output across multimedia, superb UX, a great supplier partner, and the list goes on and on.

For this report, we called on Luc Rademakers, an industry specialist in newsroom organisation and systems, to analyse the survey findings and provide his insights on the overall picture for the considerations a publisher should ponder when investing today – also with an eye toward a reader revenue strategy.

We also feature a handful of interesting publisher case studies of recent investments and collaborations, as well as the technology providers in the WAN-IFRA community.


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