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  1. #1
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    What script for Community News & Opinion Site (and more)?

    Here's what I'm trying to accomplish, and I need ideas for scripts to use for it.

    I live in a community of 50,000 to 400,000, depending upon how far out you travel from the city of 50,000. We've got a crappy newspaper that tries to do everything from internation, national to local news. Problem with this model is that everyone already gets everything but local from the internet.. But the people in this community love to interact, write Letters to the Editor, talk about their town etc. There is no real community forum or online news site of any value.

    I was thinking about starting something (got the killer domain name already) that was a local-only democratically driven online news source. It would be written by any local who wanted to write, with full discussion for every article.

    I know that people in this community would step up to write articles and commentary for free. I'd envision each article being tagged into it's appropriate section (sports, shopping, restaurants, building, homes, etc), and each writer being rated by readers. The good writers would rise to the top and the crappy one would disappear to the bottom.

    The system would have to have the facility for running banner ads or user-entered text ads. Adsense would not work since it doesn't serve up many local ads. Real locally sold ads would be more profitable anyway.

    I know that Wordpress has the MU system, but it just feels too blog-like, and I don't really trust the system yet. A discussion forum would not display the articles like a community news source, although perhaps some systems like Invision would allow enough configuration to get something good going.

    But is there somehthing that would work almost out of the box (I can confugre and add plugins; just don't want to hack) for what I'm looking for? Some type of software I'm not thinking of? I want it pretty open so there are not big hurdles for someone to post an article, but I'd still want them to "apply" so I can keep the crazies and spammers out of it.

    In the end, I envision a group of pretty good writers who specialize in the field they've chosen to write about, anxiously being read and commented to by people in the community, many they might already know. I aosl see an active letters to the editor section, and an active forum and classified ads system.

    A local news source written by locals for locals.

    Can anyone point me in a direction that might get me goin with what I need? Price of software is not a problem.
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist dalt's Avatar
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    ijoomla is worth a look at. I am using it for a similar project now. The link - http://www.ijoomla.com/index.php and check out the demos. Note - if you think you are getting the template as well...you aren't. It is only the enews cms system and you will need to integrate your own template design yourself. Otherwise, it is brilliant.

    Dalt

  3. #3
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    Django was designed for that kind of use if you can afford the hosting. I have used grokthis.net for hosting python stuff and have been very pleased.
    There are several commercial applications based on django that would be ideal. Since journalistic sites are more likely to get dug or whatever than most, it would be best to start out with a framework designed to take the pounding.

    It's probobly out of your range, but take a look at ellingtoncms

    I believe there was a Django howto at sitepoint recently.

    If you want to stick with php + mysql, Drupal would be how I'd go. It has much better workfloww and access control provisions than Joomla.

    Also take a look at webGUI (perl)

    You could set up a DailyKos style site with scoop if that's not too bloggy.

  4. #4
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    Drupal is my favorite. Download is available at drupal.org.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict Clenard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalt
    ijoomla is worth a look at. I am using it for a similar project now. The link - http://www.ijoomla.com/index.php and check out the demos. Note - if you think you are getting the template as well...you aren't. It is only the enews cms system and you will need to integrate your own template design yourself. Otherwise, it is brilliant.

    Dalt
    iJoomla looks awesome! Thanks for that link, Dalt

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalt
    ijoomla is worth a look at. I am using it for a similar project now. The link - http://www.ijoomla.com/index.php and check out the demos. Note - if you think you are getting the template as well...you aren't. It is only the enews cms system and you will need to integrate your own template design yourself. Otherwise, it is brilliant.

    Dalt
    Do you think a classifed ads system could be incorporated into it?

  7. #7
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    I have a local website and I use Joomla. Overall, it's great and it has many components that can help local communities. One thing to note is if you want to have multi-user blogs, Joomla may not be the way to go. They currently don't have a good (IMO) multi-user blog solution.
    A site for regional web administrators: Adminsphere.com

  8. #8
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    Joomla doesn't have a good multi-user anything solution. The access control setup is horrid.

    I've never used this but have been meaning to check it out.

    http://www.indymedia.ie/oscailt/

    I've helped out with political news and discussion sites in the past, all of which used Drupal / CivicSpace or scoop.

    Joomla has one thing going for it, and that's a gentle learning curve. Eventually you're find yourself want to do something it can't do and will have to pay someone to hack that functionality onto your site.

    Take a look at e107 as an alternative. It's much more powerful without being really hard to learn.

    http://www.e107.org/news.php

  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablaye
    Drupal is my favorite. Download is available at drupal.org.
    Another vote for Drupal or Expression Engine.

    Both will suit your purposes - especially since you are going to need permission based article input.

    Here's an example of a local paper built on drupal:
    http://thatotherpaper.com/

    Also drupal: http://www.theonion.com/content/local

    Drupal has a bit of a learning curve. If you want an easier 'out of the box' solution, Expression Engine should do most of what you need.
    TheWeighWeWere.com - Weight Loss Success Stories from A to Z!

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  10. #10
    SitePoint Evangelist dalt's Avatar
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    Joomla

    Quote Originally Posted by slobizman
    Do you think a classifed ads system could be incorporated into it?
    Joomla has many classifieds options and can be integrated with the Ijoomla site.

    Dalt

  11. #11
    SitePoint Evangelist dalt's Avatar
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    Joomblogs

    Quote Originally Posted by asphere
    I have a local website and I use Joomla. Overall, it's great and it has many components that can help local communities. One thing to note is if you want to have multi-user blogs, Joomla may not be the way to go. They currently don't have a good (IMO) multi-user blog solution.
    Joomblogs is a multi-user blog system that works. A bit buggy, but if you know what you are doing, you can make it work. Then next version should be brilliant.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist dalt's Avatar
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    Love it or hate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by VelvetElvis
    Joomla doesn't have a good multi-user anything solution. The access control setup is horrid.

    Take a look at e107 as an alternative. It's much more powerful without being really hard to learn.

    http://www.e107.org/news.php
    Let's face it...Joomla has a brilliant community and it is growing faster than any other and at this stage is probably much bigger than the rest.

    It has its quirks, but it allows anyone including newbies to create great websites and communities.

    You hear a lot of crap about joomla, but let's face it, it does a brilliant job and it is free. I even use it for simple websites...why? Because it is easy to train my clients how to update areas...even the basic secretary can use it.

    E107...It's crap, antiquated and not worth using and I question anyones credibility if they recommend this cms over Joomla. I have it on several websites and I can't wait to convert them to Joomla.

    Dalt

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Hey Slobizman,

    I'm working on a similar project and my software of choice is www.bigmedium.com and you'll also want to check out the beta of version 2 at beta.bigmedium.com

    It's perfectly suited for a news website, very affordable and easy to integrate into the website design of your choice. For a look at what you can do with it, take a look at www.cumminghome.com

    Cheers,

    Steve

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalt
    Joomblogs is a multi-user blog system that works. A bit buggy, but if you know what you are doing, you can make it work. Then next version should be brilliant.
    Yes, I need a VERY multi-user system. There will be lots of authors--almost a free-for-all with some controls.

  15. #15
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    Dalt: I agree about e107 being on the way out. I got it confused with xoops having just finished posting a rant elsewhere about Joomla winning the Packt Publishing Open Source CMS Awards. (xoops and e107 tied as runners up).

    Joomla is one of the best CMSs to use if you don't have to juggle dozens of access control groups. I'll give you the community support point. It does really shine there.

    For multi user community where granular access control is important, drupal is really a head and shoulders above the others.
    Last edited by VelvetElvis; Nov 29, 2006 at 19:08.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Evangelist dalt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VelvetElvis
    For multi user community where granular access control is important, drupal is really a head and shoulders above the others.
    I agree with you wholeheartedly on this point and it's an area that Joomla has to develop. I read where there is an extension (mod) available that gives multiple levels of access. I haven't seen it yet or read how effective it is, but I do have a job to create before Christmas for a client, so I will have to find it and then see how it goes.

    I am fortunate to date that all the joomla sites I have created only required singular access to edit and update. I am sure this will change shortly after I create a new site using ijoomla.

    Dalt

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by slobizman
    Do you think a classifed ads system could be incorporated into it?
    You can with Drupal:
    http://drupal.org/project/directory

    (The demo links have turned the directory into a 'classifieds' system)
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  18. #18
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    I just posed this in another thread. I'll post it here too because it really is a fascinating read.

    Here's the wiki page for gnome.org's recent deliberations to chose a CMS for their use.

    http://live.gnome.org/GnomeWeb/CmsRequirements

    The final selection was made not the basis of the suitability of any on platform but on the knowledge of the volunteer developers they had on hand.


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