Page Management with Livingdocs: Future-Proof Curation Support 

Sarah Robins

When it comes to our product, we at Livingdocs strive to give our customers the best. For us, this means creating a product that facilitates a shift in perspective, and makes it possible for news publishers to produce and distribute digital news at their absolute best thanks to our straightforward, intuitive tech. This requires us to keep our product both highly flexible and robust, able to accommodate a wide variety of needs and processes without being overly complicated, able to evolve in line with the rapid pace of digitalisation without compromising reliability.

We wanted a CMS, which we consider to be both future-proof and agile in that we can develop it relatively well and easily. If we say that there is a tool that has a component that doesn't work in an ideal way, we can adjust it, and replace it if necessary, without having to re-plan and rebuild the entire CMS landscape. And that's why Süddeutsche Zeitung looked to Livingdocs as a tool for our page management.

Fabian Heckenberger, Managing Editor at Süddeutsche Zeitung

An area where we see this need exemplified is in story curation: how, when and where media companies choose to present their information. And for news publishers, page management is integral to a well-curated digital publication; it is the ‘how’ behind the ‘what’. However, page management is not a uniform process in the industry; rather it is quite complex and often dependent on a news publisher’s business model: an advertisement and SEO-driven model versus a subscription model, for example. In practice, the approaches to suit these specific models can sometimes look quite different. For instance, Livingdocs customer blue’s page management is mostly automated thanks to metadata tags, whereas Süddeutsche Zeitung's page management is a semi-automated process with a manual option, and is largely based on metadata coming from Desk-Net. 

Moreover, the matter is further complicated as no newsroom has the same workflow, reflective not only of the overarching business model, but also of the organisational structure, journalistic strategy (i.e. when and why to update readers) and historical legacy. Even more so, all of these elements are subject to change in varying degrees. In this way, publishing houses need a page management solution that is robust enough yet flexible enough to suit different, and fluctuating, business needs and models. And at Livingdocs, we work to provide the simplest, most straightforward solution that addresses the greatest variety of issues, so that it is not only faster for us to innovate, develop our product and create additional features, but is also beneficial for the customer, as it allows for a more agile – and, in the long run, cheaper – approach.

Süddeutsche Zeitung: Page Management with Livingdocs in Action

One of our customers with which we have greatly supported the page management process is Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). Our goal was to make page management as easy and, yes, fun as possible for this world-renowned newspaper as part of the transition of their digital news platform to the Livingdocs CMS. With roughly 300 people involved in page management at SZ – handling teasers, images and other various elements – allowing for a seamless collaborative experience was key. And that’s what we provided. The features that support page management at SZ, and with other Livingdocs customers, include drag and drop teaser elements (e.g. photo galleries, images, articles and videos) and real-time collaboration tools. We also accommodate different approaches, namely manual versus automated, by enabling the easy management of manual lists as well as the creation of automated lists with configurable rules.

To note, traditional page management is not the only curation support that Livingdocs can offer; we also enable the curation of finite products like daily editions or special occasion issues. In the case of SZ, this refers to their premium product, the Digital Edition. When creating the Digital Edition, the content with which it is built is often ready only an hour before it must be published, and sometimes must be completed by an editor who must both add their own article to the edition and publish the edition in its entirety. Therefore, page management cannot be a source of delay or resistance. It must be lightning-fast and frictionless. With Livingdocs, the editors at SZ have enhanced navigation capabilities between individual pages in an issue for a better user experience. Each page number of the Digital Edition has a colour which denotes a status, so there is a clear overview of the overall creation progress, as well as ease in seeing what exactly needs to be addressed and where in order to move forward.

Since implementing Livingdocs, page management at SZ is more effective and pleasant. See what Fabian Heckenberger, Managing Editor at SZ, had to say about why SZ chose Livingdocs for page management at our recent Spotlight event.

The Livingdocs Approach to Curation and Page Management

Livingdocs sees no technical distinction between the software that allows users to edit articles and that which enables page management. Rather, it is simply a matter of choosing and configuring specific components and features to suit specific needs, allowing for flexibility while still offering a coherent, unified user experience. This is especially relevant as, in this ever-evolving digital news landscape, even news publishers themselves have trouble clarifying what exactly a page is versus an article, an evolving story or a news ticker. We want to facilitate the evolution by not standing in our customers’ way with unnecessary technical distinctions. Instead, we give you the configurable features that allow you to experiment and organise your publication in a way that reflects your newsroom and overall mission.

Looking at the industry landscape, we have seen a shift in page management with many news publishers working initially in print with the approach of trying to fill pages and focusing on distribution, to being more topic-focused and highlighting what’s important and what readers really want to read. We have also seen that this is often easier said than done. We know change is hard, but we aim to make it easier, at least from the technical perspective. When news publishers keenly articulate the main purpose of their pages (i.e. whether it serves as a primary news overview for subscribers or a long-tail teaser list for better Google indexing and discoverability) we can better find a solution, and will leverage our network of trusted partners in order to find the best one available. For example, in cases where increasing automation would save opportunity costs in regard to journalists having more time to focus on their editorial content, we could optimise the potential of metadata through automated tagging related to topic, level of significance, reader needs, etc. thanks to our partnership with the AI solution provider iMatrics.

The Best of Livingdocs is Your Best, Both Today and Tomorrow

Looking ahead, we aim to continue offering a unified experience for news publishers working in the digital realm, giving them everything they need to design a workflow which suits their newsroom best in regard to both distribution and topic planning. With the new Livingsdocs Planning System, which deeply integrates page management features and workflows, news publishers can upgrade and adapt the way they produce and distribute the news without being held back by rigid technology. They can redefine and fine-tune their news products for maximum reader impact while reducing the strain on their newsroom. They can explore and optimise page potential, creating new possibilities for how they tell stories that matter.

Just because something works doesn’t mean it is being utilised to its fullest capacity, and we want our customers to thrive in the digital age rather than struggle to exist. With our product, set of tools and strong partner community, we allow our diverse range of customers to evolve as effortlessly as possible in order to remain competitive and creative, whether that’s managing a page or planning the article distribution for the day. We want our customers to have the best of Livingdocs, so they can find their own way to best inform their readers, and ultimately, make the impact on society they intend.