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Report on digital news preservation: A CMS is not enough

May 31, 2021 – 3 min. read

State of Digital News Preservation report, front page, University of Missouri
In a recently published report by the University of Missouri, researchers recommend that news publishers “acquire a separate archive system” if they want to preserve their digital assets properly. CUE DAM was valued the most ambitious solution.

Newsrooms around the world are creating a flood of content every day but far too few media companies consider how all of their texts, photos, and videos are being preserved, according to the report titled "Endangered But Not Too Late: The State of Digital News Preservation" published in April 2021 by the University of Missouri.

This is a problem in regards to keeping historical records, but also in terms of having easily searchable content available at journalists' and editors' fingertips for later reuse and reference point.

The CMS takes on too many roles

The report from University of Missouri, one of the oldest journalism schools in the world, was published in April 2021 and is based on an 18-month-long project to assess the status of preservation of born-digital news content across the news industry.

In more than 100 interviews with nearly 40 newsrooms and related organizations, researchers found that far too many newsrooms are relying partly or solely on their web CMS for the management of their digital assets.

“This approach to preservation is an example of the multiple roles that web CMS platforms are called on to perform in today’s newsrooms, in addition to its primary role of managing content to produce rendered web pages of news content,” the report says.

The newsrooms that had an archive or digital asset management system in addition to their CMS scored highest on the project’s scoring method, which was used to assert how well the newsrooms preserved their digital assets.

”We found a connection between the types of technology in use and how well the news organization does in content preservation. The key was whether or not the organization’s overall technology architecture included the use of an archive system or asset management system of some kind other than a production CMS to preserve at least part of their content.”

DAM functionality increasingly important

The research team found that adoption of DAM technologies is, however, on the rise, and that a proper, seamless connection between a CMS and a DAM is the best solution.

““The most ambitious of the new DAM offerings from publishing vendors is the recent purchase and integration of Digital Collections’ DCX system into the CUE Publishing Platform offered by Stibo DX."”

"Endangered But Not Too Late: The State of Digital News Preservation"

McCain et al, University of Missouri, 2021

“The most ambitious of the new DAM offerings from publishing vendors is the recent purchase and integration of Digital Collections’ DCX system into the CUE Publishing Platform offered by Stibo DX. This combination, now called CUE DAM, offers the only example we know of in which a publisher can tap the full functionality of a tightly integrated sophisticated preservation system, developed over decades, directly within the larger publishing interface used by newsroom staff.

Content structure becoming more granular

Another interesting finding in the report is how the structure of content is changing.

”To meet the increasingly multichannel needs of digital publishing and broadcasting, the change we observed is that content is becoming more and more granular. Stibo DX has redesigned the content architecture of their CUE Publishing Platform to reduce the unit of content to a far more granular level. […] Each content element stands as an equal and independent entity, whether photo, video, social media embed, active graphic, map etc. This extends to text as well, with each paragraph of a text story managed as a separate element.”

The report offers many more valuable and useful findings and recommendations for any media company interested in improving news preservation and digital asset management.

Source: McCain, Edward, Neil Mara, Kara Van Malssen, Dorothy Carner, Bernard Reilly, Kerri Willette, Sandy Schiefer, Joe Askins and Sarah Buchanan. Endangered But Not Too Late: The State of Digital News Preservation. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2021. https://hdl.handle.net/10355/80931, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)

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