A little less than a week ago some of us sat down together to talk about what features we’d like to see incorporated into WordPress to make it a more powerful CMS for news organizations. The resulting conversation was posted on the Inside CoPress blog and Daniel’s written up a nice summary there too.
After talking with Mo, Daniel, Max, Eric, and Drew I drew up my own list of what I would like to see. Some of these are discussed in the conference call, but I thought I’d give my own reasoning behind them as well.
The Ability to pull more Author metadata:
As part of designing News Evolved I wanted to create Author pages that functioned as personal resumes; however, I came up against a limitation of what types of information WordPress allows to be pulled from the user account.
If you want to display the name, website, email, AIM, description of an author then that’s easy enough, but there’s currently now way (that I’ve found at least) to create customized fields for each author and pull those into The Loop.
This would be great because it would allow for info like an Author’s Publish2 links, their Google Reader shared items, an online chat widget, Twitter stream, and more to be pulled into an archive page.
Furthermore, I think that creating author pages that looked like personal resumes of online activity might inspire more college journalists to start using tools like Twitter and Publish2.
A lot of reporters at the Whitman Pioneer like to point their friends, parents, relatives, etc. to the site so that they can see what their son/daughter/etc is writing. By including personalized information on an Author’s archive page these same people would be able to see more of what that student is producing online.
More roles for users and the ability to only post to a specific category:
Some of this came up during the discussion last Wednesday so I won’t bother to reiterate those ideas.
The one thing that I think would really help WordPress to function as a truly efficient CMS is the ability to limit certain authors to posting in specific categories.
At the Whitman Pioneer we use categories as a way to create topic-specific blogs. They’re all listed as child-categories under a main category of “Blogs.” We’ve recently opened these up to non-staff members to encompass a wider range of topics and opinions; however, there’s one significant downside to all this and that is the amount of time that is needed to maintain it all.
Every time a blog is added I have send out a new email with instructions for how to post and how to categorize things properly. Inevitably people, even people on the staff, post something in the wrong category and suddenly it doesn’t show up under their blog.
By limiting an author to a specific category then this whole problem of making sure bloggers are posting in the proper categories would be resolved in a clean, automated manner.
Anyway, those are my thoughts any ideas? What would make WordPress more useful to your news organization?
Note: There’s a couple forum topics over on the CoPress site that deal with these issues too if you’re interested.