Danish Developers In Tune With Times Co.

By: Jim Rosenberg

Following last month’s announcement that it would supply its regional newspapers with an online publishing system from one Danish developer, the New York Times Co. is buying editorial systems for its Northeastern metros from another company in Denmark.

Aarhus-based CCI Europe will install its CCI NewsDesk at The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass., providing a common editing and pagination system. CCI and the Times Co. will work with Adobe Systems Inc. to integrate its InDesign as a layout tool for designers. Implementation is scheduled to begin late this year.

The sale continues a trend among big U.S. dailies switching to CCI (which has offices in Kennesaw, Ga.) from the former top two systems vendors. The Times is the largest to do so. The Globe had been a longtime customer and test site for Atex; the Times is a more recent Atex editorial system user. The T&G uses an Atex ad system.

A search began three years ago to replace the aging Atex systems, which suffered from support, reliability, and capacity problems as well as functionality and flexibility shortcomings, according to a Times Co. spokesman.

The deal establishes InDesign for both designing and paginating the largest dailies. The spokesman said paginators will have a choice of using InDesign or CCI LayoutChamp — the latter sufficing for most pages, but the former useful, for example, on the Times‘ many more designed pages than are ordinarily found in most papers, as well as for special sections, advertorials, and “a fair amount of pages done by free-lancers.” Implementation will rely heavily on InDesign-NewsDesk integration to better bring designers into the editorial work flow.

CCI said it designed NewsDesk to streamline the whole editorial process, using a scalable, customizable open architecture and developing its own methods to store images and configure the system and work flow. The agreement calls for supporting roughly 1,100 concurrent users: 775 at the Times, 150 at the T&G, 175 at the Globe (which last year moved reporters to the Lotus Notes-based front end from NewsEngin, Narberth, Pa.).

“CCI NewsDesk will enable us to produce a larger, more complex and dynamic newspaper within tighter deadlines,” said Times Group Publishing Systems Director Cindy Taibi in announcing the sale. She added that it will provide a planning tool, give correspondents worldwide Web access, and allow better management of more zoned pages and the introduction of new products.

CCI Executive Vice President Johnny Th?gersen said the Times Co. deal “continues the global trend of … group editorial solutions” — something also evident in the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group (NYTRNG) choice of the Publicus online publishing system from Aalborg-based SaxoTech to produce different Web sites for 13 dailies (with a licensing option for the group’s lone California daily and the non-NYTRNG T&G). System implementation began last month in what SaxoTech Customer Fulfillment Vice President Robert Laszlo called “a fairly aggressive” rollout, with all sites to be live in 12 months. The first will be the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune next month. Largest of the group, it also is closest to its Tampa-based online operation and will be first to see its current hosting site contract lapse, according to NYTRNG Online Director Michael Schlein.

With offices in Rockville, Md., and serving about 40 North American papers, SaxoTech’s greatest sales success in the United States has been its online systems and services. CEO Anders Christiansen called the NYTRNG agreement “our largest to date in North America.” It also is the only Publicus sale that will not rely on the vendor as application service provider, except for some help during the initial transition. Hosting its own operation, NYTRNG “will be served from a single data center running on multiple data servers,” said Laszlo. NYTRNG News and New Media Vice President Bruce Kyse said the single content-management solution will yield cost savings as well as production and maintenance efficiencies.

For production of the Web sites, Publicus will be integrated with the papers’ various editorial and advertising front ends (Atex, Baseview, DTI, SII, Unisys) at the group’s three dailies in Alabama, four in Florida, two in Louisiana, three in North Carolina, and one in South Carolina.

The contract covers the Publicus Base System and all add-ons: polling, event scheduling, wireless/e-mail publishing, discussion groups, directories, sales, audio and video publishing, and the new online interviewing and ad-submission modules.

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