As we will be opening doors to the Courant News code this week, I thought I would take a moment to address expectations that people might or might not have regarding the project.
I know that currently there’s a strong desire for alternatives to College Publisher. WordPress and Drupal are great, but sometimes they aren’t the best fit for a news organization, and so a custom news CMS is an attractive prospect.
At this point, we’ve been working on code for Courant News for almost six months, and have been thinking about it conceptually for at least a year. As I’ve discussed in a previous post, a CMS is fundamentally all about content management, which means that the administrative interface is the most important component. We have plans for the Courant News admin, which will become public when the project site launches this week. But for now we are still using the Django admin app as a stopgap solution, which is passable but far from ideal. Until we’ve implemented a more news-oriented admin, I don’t think I could recommend use of Courant News for a production site.
The point of releasing the code and opening the process is to get the rest of the college news community involved. We can all collaborate on the design and implementation of various aspects of the platform, and make something that is really built for and by the college news community. We’re now ready to get people involed in a hands-on manner, and that’s why we are “releasing” this week. But please be careful not to confuse the term “release” as meaning “ready to be used.”
I think Courant News has a ton of potential and can be a rallying point for college news, and I hope we can get alot of voices involed in the process. We need developers; we need journalists; and we need visionaries. Get excited and get involved because you see the potential and want to help us through the process. Don’t get carried away thinking it’s an immediate cure or immediately useful tool. All in due time. All in due time.