The Heart of Content Management

The ombudsman at the Washington Post on the recent redesign of washingtonpost.comfocuses on not the site’s new redesign, but the new content management system:

Every newsroom employee is struggling with it, not just the tech people. And it has a horrible name, the vaguely French-sounding Methode. To me it sounds like one of those bad hair salons that Tabatha Coffey on the Bravo network rescues with a management makeover.

And the geek name for it — content management system, or CMS — is even worse. It reduces the heart and soul of journalism — stories, photos, graphics, the news — into generic “content,” something akin to the unidentifiable filling in a Twinkie. Ick.

But Methode, developed by Eidos Media, is being used by the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, the Seattle Times, the New York Post, and newspapers, magazines, and Web sites around the world.

As soon as the tools we use to publish our sites start to equal the class, skill and nuance we the writers are expected to put into “the content” on our sites, then we can start to truly consider ourselves publishers in the digital age. Until then, digital will always be second to print.