Saying goodbye to old friends … hello to new ones

I went to Arkansas last week to big goodbye to an old friend — actually two old friends.

For the past three years, I’ve worked with and for a Minnesota-based company that provides content and content management systems for television station websites. The company provides the backbone of many of the local television news site you see around the country.

But about a year-and-a-half ago, the company started thinking about ways it could improve its content management system, or CMS. After years of evolving the CMS, it just simply couldn’t be easily adapted to accommodate the changing world of news delivery.

What had evolved into a relatively user-friendly tool was doomed to go the way of the dinosaur, replaced by a multi-functioning CMS that can provide more versatility to the market.

Over the past year, the new CMS has come online for many of the company’s client stations and news groups.

And so it was that I found myself headed to Arkansas for the latest conversion. For the past four months or so, I’ve been managing 4029tv.com, the website for a station in Fort Smith. In this era of email, IMs and everything Internet, it’s a fairly streamlined process to sit in one city and do work in another, and such is the case with my work for 4029tv.com.

We’ve managed to set 30-day highs for visits at least twice in my time there, and our Facebook reach has tripled on average. We were also the local go-to site in northwest Arkansas during the whole Bobby Petrino scandal at the university.

So while I was excited to be part of the process of migrating the station to the new CMS and all its benefits, I was a little sad to be leaving the old one behind. Over the years, you learn to work the system a bit so that you can make a website do what you want.

I’m sure in time those same things will hold true with the new CMS as well.

At the same time we were bringing on the new CMS, the website itself was launching a redesign with a more modern look and dynamic story stacks to better serve both traditional online users and mobile viewers.

While it’s going to take some time to get used to I’m sure the editors and reporters at the station will grow to appreciate the new CMS. And just like its predecessor, the new CMS will grow and evolve to better accommodate the user.

For now, however, I said my goodbyes to the old CMS. It’s on life support and the old website design has died. They were both a familiar part of my work life, and while I look forward to the new site and CMS, I’ll miss my old friends.

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