Sean is a life-long resident of Augusta with over 30 years experience at the The Augusta Chronicle.
Posted February 26, 2010 04:10 pm

Drupal-based system lets us respond quickly

The unveiling of our new Web site has brought many changes to Though some are visible , others are behind the scenes and deal more with improving online news delivery.

As we contemplated the move towards a more Web-based delivery system, the greatest problem we faced was the need for a large online department proficient in HTML code to place content onto the Web site.

If our new online focus was to work, we needed to load breaking news quickly and update throughout the day as situations changed.

In an effort to use resources more efficiently, we scrapped the old HTML -based W eb site in favor of one that allowed content to be added by users with little or no computer- programming knowledge. now uses a Drupal-based content management system that allows editors, reporters and visual journalists to upload content directly to our site . This gives us the ability to post breaking news from the field via laptop and update stories quickly.

Drupal is an open-source system for creating and managing Web sites. Open source software such as Firefox and Linux allows the computer code to be manipulated to suit individual needs.

A software designer will get the ball rolling by creating a program and then give other programmers throughout the world permission to change and improve the program to suit their needs. This program is then changed and improved by still other programmers, creating an infinitely customizable and adaptable program.

Our change to a Drupal-based Web page let us move most of our online department into other positions in the newsroom.

The streamlined online department no longer has to manually upload content to our site; the department can focus on customizing existing software to make it more user-friendly and better deliver the news.

As we continue to customize this software, we will add new features in coming months.

Some features from our old site that were not part of the new platform will be brought back, along with new features to enhance the overall experience .

In the spirit of open-source programming, our Web site will continue to be a work in progress.

We will listen to your feedback and be as accommodating as possible.

Let us know what you think.