7 CMS Platforms for Hyperlocal Publishers

Behind every successful hyperlocal news website is a robust content management system. Although many publishers have adapted general-purpose systems like WordPress and Drupal to meet their needs — and others, like Patch and Sacramento Press, have built their own technology platforms from scratch — new CMS platforms are being developed specifically with the needs of local and regional publishers in mind. By doing away with plug-ins and themes that aren’t essential for media publications, the creators of these CMS platforms are making it easier for publishers to launch and manage their own hyperlocal sites.

Here are seven CMS platforms that publishers can use to run local news websites.

1. Metro Publisher
Metro Publisher is a tool that local and regional content providers can use to manage the back-end of their online publications. In addition to its powerful content management system, which publishers can use to post articles, videos, and slideshows, Metro Publisher offers a number of ad sales tools and location-based mapping features. Metro Publisher clients include Arlington Mercury, Barcelona Metropolitan, and The Chattanooga Pulse. The company charges publishers a monthly fee for its platform, and requires a minimum contract of just one month.

2. WhichBox
WhichBox is a content creation and management system that offers turn-key solutions for publishers and media companies. The platform’s “organic storytelling” tools allow users to create their own content using text, videos, and photos. WhichBox is fully-integrated with an ad serving platform, e-commerce tools, and third-party email marketing applications. TownSquareBuzz.com is built on WhichBox’s publishing platform. Publishing partners pay a one-time implementation fee, which varies based on the amount of customization needed, along with a monthly fee of $1,995.

3. VeriLocal
Local publishers with sites in multiple markets can publish content in hundreds of communities simultaneously using VeriLocal’s content management system. Contributors can publish all types of content—including written posts, videos, and photos — from their iPhones and iPod Touch devices, while publishers can focus on ad sales creation and distribution. VeriLocal publishers include Grassroots News International. The company says it can lower a publisher’s admin costs by up to 80 percent.

4. Godengo
Regional magazine publishers looking for a better way to bring their print content online can use Godengo’s Rivista content management system to manage and distribute their content on the web. Rivista’s suite of tools facilitate advanced content tagging, user commenting, polling, reader blogs, and surveys. Regional publications currently using Godengo’s Rivista platform include Sun Valley Magazine and Aspen Sojourner. Godengo says most publishing partners experience a 25% to 125% increase in traffic in the first six-months after launching with its platform.

5. VillageSoup
VillageSoup offers platform licensing for hyperlocal publishers. The company’s platform works by using a series of modules that allow reporters to post their own stories, while also helping publishers create and manage community forums and commenting features. VillageSoup’s enterprise edition offers four methods of revenue generation for publishers: memberships, web ads, classifieds, and real estate listings. Participating sites include The Republican Journal and Fairfield Ledger. Publishers who opt to use VillageSoups’ enterprise edition can license the company’s software as needed, rather than purchasing it outright.

6. Radiate Media
Community newspaper publishers looking for a better way to manage their online properties can turn to Radiate Media. The company, which was created after Matchbin acquired NAVTEQ Media Solution’s Radio and Television Group in November 2011, offers digital CMS solutions that make it easy to publish audio and video, send breaking news alerts to readers via SMS, and create websites optimized for the mobile web. Past Matchbin clients include the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Daily Sparks Tribune, and Rome News-Tribune.

7. MediaSpan
Publishers who don’t have any technical experience will appreciate MediaSpan’s “click-to-publish” CMS interface, which allows content producers to set up sites and publish stories to multiple online properties without any HTML knowledge necessary. MediaSpan’s platform supports story commenting, social bookmarking, interactive polls, and content syndication. MediaSpan’s client roster includes large media companies, such as Gannett, Radio One, and Scripps.

Know of other content management systems built with hyperlocal publishers in mind? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

  1. CH
    June 19, 2012

    Interesting run down on tools for hyper local. Thanks.

    I have been happily using a template called Tidelines, developed over five years ago. My site is MyNaramata.com, and the first Tidelines was/is Cortesisland.com.
    It is very simply and somewhat limiting.  But it the template let me concentrate on gathering local news content without worrying about formatting, etc.

    Tidelines rents for $25/month.

  2. June 19, 2012

    I’m usually not this overtly self-promoting in comments but Locable definitely falls into the CMS category. We’ve recently released our second generation publishing platform after working with local publishers, generally community magazines, to extend their brands online for the last few years.

    We have an extreme focus on speed and automation to ensure that all of the content – articles, events, business listings etc – does more than coexist but actually works together for a more comprehensive local experience.While the technology is critical we find it falls into the necessary-but-not-sufficient camp as in most publishers need a partner that goes beyond the technology itself to operations and monetization… they need to be part of a network.You can read more about the Locable Approach at http://locable.com/blog/the-locable-approach-for-publishers/ and if you’re a local publisher we’re happy to show you what make Locable so unique.

  3. June 19, 2012


  4. June 19, 2012

    Does anyone use Metro Publisher? How would you rate it? What do you like and dislike? I’m currently using WordPress and plug-ins for my site, but have quickly outgrown it..

    1. June 19, 2012

      Being a competitor of sorts I’m not exactly unbiased though I’ve heard good things about Metro Publisher.

      I think your point about WordPress is insightful, we originally sought to use WordPress but while it can do almost anything you want it doesn’t do exactly what hyper local sites need to do in a way that works effectively. That’s what led us down the path of creating our own publishing platform which is now, as it turns out, much more than a site publishing platform.

      I’m happy to share more if you’re interested. Brian.

  5. June 19, 2012

     Or if you use one of the other ones, which one and how would you rate it..

  6. June 19, 2012

    Openblockproject.org looks interesting.  It’s an open source project based on everyblock’s technology.  We’ve looked at it for integration with gatheringpoint.com.

  7. tran longmoore
    June 24, 2012

    NodeStream and Open Publish are two Drupal-based distributions that are free an can be tailored to your needs.

  8. Guest
    October 3, 2013


  9. DanielMyers
    October 3, 2013

    Check out http://www.cityportals.com, it is years ahead of the other CMS platforms. Yes, I might be biased, but check it out.

  10. George
    May 14, 2014

    not a huge fan of most CMS’s to start with but when I installed
    opened up the files and looked through them, I was amazed at how easy
    everything was. It was the fastest learning process I ever had with
    learning the template system.

  11. WJO
    November 8, 2014

    Creative Circle Media Solutions, is another newspaper CMS provider. They are considerably more innovative and customizable than the systems you describe here. They were the first CMS platform for hyper-local, the first to have a pay wall, the first to provide reverse publishing, the first to provide flexible templates to better reflect the news.

    Their platforms, communityQ and mediasiteQ, come with a custom design, consulting support and an innovative, self-service ad platform called QuickAds specifically designed for hyper-locals. It’s all easy to run and much more sophisticated than anything described here.

    Creative Circle provides all the IT support you need at prices well below companies like Radiate Media and MediaSpan (now Newscycle).

    Contact Bill Ostendorf at 401-455-1555. http://www.creativecirclemedia.com

  12. October 31, 2015

    you shared extremely helpful information in this article, but i think you may have forgotten to add some good newspaper cms like TechCruiser newspaper CMS. You should also add newspaper cms offered by TechCruiser.com that can help hypelocal publishers.

  13. macadanet
    September 6, 2016

    Hi there,
    I think it is interesting for this article because there is an option for journalists and newspapers called opennemas.com
    It is a SaaS (online) solution so editors don’t need to buy a hosting. The best, tech knowledge is not required to work on it.
    It is free with more than 20 modules and more than 30 templates available.
    Hope this help.

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