“We’re trying to fix the ‘CMS Problem'”

September 14- A group of young journalists is taking on the most loathed-and-loved CMS behemoth in the student press: College Publisher.


CoPress, in the words of one of its founders, is “a network of journalists and students working at college publications trying to solve some of the technical problems with publishing online. What does that mean? We’re trying to fix the ‘CMS problem.'”  Their main problem is with College Publisher, recently rechristened College Media Network.  It is the content management system (CMS) of choice among major student newspapers.  (Go to Google and look up 10 college publications.  My prediction: Nine out of 10 will be using CMN.  You will know this because all the papers’ sites look basically the same.)  According to CoPress and its supporters, the CMS of CMN is “too restrictive, poorly developed, and proprietary, locking innovative students to a platform that limits creativity.  [P]age load times are atrocious because of far too much Javascript, and if they go out of business, your website goes down.  The answer, instead, is open source.”


What do you think?  Is CMN a necessary evil or simply problematic?  Is open source the answer?


My opinion: The main problem I have with CMN is its success, specifically its student press omnipresence online.  It leads to a feeling of sameness and staleness among college papers’ Web components that I believe student staffers are equipped to rise above and innovate beyond.

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