iCMS case study: the right way to have a newspaper CMS

New York-based The Daily Gazette Company has a daily newspaper, two weeklies and six websites, with the replica edition of the printed paper included. This case study aims to find out what drew them to Netrix iCMS and how they feel about their choice now, months later.



The Daily Gazette Company owns a 125 year-old daily newspaper published in Schenectady, New York, and its e-edition is a digital reproduction of the printed paper. In December 2019, they acquired the Amsterdam Recorder, along with two of its weekly newspapers and sites: The Courier-Standard-Enterprise and Fulton County Express. Their primary paper The Daily Gazette has a weekly readership of 350,000.


The new CMS simplified and sped up work

The main problem why the company needed a new CMS was the instability of their previous CMS: if the frontend broke, the CMS broke too, so they did not only lose page views and customers, but the newsroom was frustrated that they couldn’t keep working either. What they needed was a reliable, stable CMS as a backend, separated from the frontend. Moreover, they needed a system to synchronize the content of their websites and printed editions, to improve the workflow.

James Grandy, VP of Digital Operations at The Daily Gazette, has been in the industry for 41 years, so he has seen quite a few CMSs, but the Netrix iCMS was by far the easiest alternative he ever had the chance to work with. Usually he spends a few nights figuring out things, but this time it was a 2 day session with the project manager of Netrix, and everything went smoothly. “We were developing a new website at the same time, so any delays were mostly from that side of the project”, he adds.

“Things are self-explanatory, the headline, the subhead, with photos it took a while to get the caption right, but in the end, the editors were happy, too”, he says. Within a few days, the team could easily work with the new CMS, with the additional advantage of writers and layout editors not having to mail each other documents, but having all articles collected in one single database. “It’s definitely an advantage that the usual workflow has not changed drastically, everything has just become simpler”.

Even managed to attract more users: a 40 percent increase within 30 days

Besides the stability of the CMS, the main advantage of the new system was its SEO-friendliness, reflected in the Analytics, too. Due to the instability of the site and all the annoying error-messages before opting for Netrix iCMS, readers tended to leave after one article, however, with the Netrix iCMS, the Gazette had a quarter million more pageviews within 30 days, which is an impressive 40 percent increase. They managed to keep up this increase ever since.

The Daily Gazette Company is very happy with the unlimited support they get with their Netrix iCMS license. In the past couple of months, they updated the plugin at least 20 times, and the team was incredibly responsive. "In this industry, you can't wait 2-3 days, you need immediate solutions. Luckily, if we needed a personalized update, it usually took a couple of hours to get back to us. In certain cases, working with an overseas company even had its advantages, as we explained what we needed in the evening, and it was delivered by the morning", Grandy says.

Writers and editors often use their smartphones to type and publish a short article, right on site. As the CMS is responsive, this is a quick and easy way of accessing the website for instant updates.

The company is happy with this cost-efficient solution

Cost-efficiency was a major factor when opting for Netrix iCMS, too. "We are on a tight budget, my boss is very strict when it comes to what we spend on. Twenty years ago, cost-efficiency was not such a huge issue, but these days it certainly is, so we are very happy with the package we get".

“Netrix CMS greatly simplified and sped up our production process, this was of paramount importance with the additional work added when we purchased the three new newspapers. We now can seamlessly update all the websites and print publications quickly and easily from a single content source. Thank you to the Netrix team for making this transition so smooth and painless”, James Grandy sums up their company’s experience with Netrix.




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