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L.A. Times launches industry-leading new platform developed on Brightspot

Members of the Brightspot team who delivered the L.A. Times' new CMS solution
Alistair Wearmouth
By Alistair Wearmouth
January 13, 2023
The Los Angeles Times modernized systems across its entire editorial newsroom to centrally manage the intake, production and distribution of content—including millions of archival assets—in just 12 months.
4 Min Read

The Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper launched a new latimes.com powered by GrapheneCMS, a revolutionary, cloud-enabled content management system developed on the Brightspot CMS, with strategic partner NantMedia’s California Times and NantWorks.

Harnessing the enterprise publishing power of Brightspot, the new L.A. Times CMS unifies formerly disparate systems, empowering L.A. Times journalists with increased publishing efficiency, and ultimately saving the publication significant time and money. Visitors to latimes.com will now find a cleaner, more user-friendly design, improved navigation that makes it easier to locate desired content, faster page-load times, and an optimized mobile experience.

To further improve the overall reader experience, this relaunch also significantly reduces the number of ads displayed. “For what has felt like an eternity, the L.A. Times website has been overrun with ads that have devalued the user experience,” said L.A. Times reporter, Colleen Shalby. “Thanks to the tireless efforts of many of my colleagues, our site launched a new CMS today that prioritizes our readers.”

The level of effort, determination and sheer will that it took to get this project launched is awe-inspiring. We didn't just launch a website. The level of intricacy behind-the-scenes won't be seen by visitors, but the result of it will not be lost on them. We built a solution that makes getting important information to the people as easy as possible.
Moustafa Alsaadi, Brightspot Program Manager

What’s more, according to the L.A. Times press release, the Brightspot-powered CMS also benefits the editorial staff by providing “better integration with the print production system to enable greater and more efficient coordination across platforms.” To facilitate the improvement, Brightspot integrated Adobe InDesign, a desktop publishing and typesetting software application that’s used to create newspapers, magazines, e-books and other types of content. As this demo illustrates, this timesaving CMS feature supports the digital-to-print workflow of newsrooms and allows for collaborative editing between InDesign users and Brightspot users.

Brightspot development on the new CMS kicked off this past September, shortly after Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong assumed ownership of the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and all other publications within the California News Group in June 2018. The relaunch of the L.A. Times follows closely on the heels of the San Diego Union-Tribune’s transition to GrapheneCMS earlier this year.

Below are specific highlights of the new L.A. Times CMS, powered by Brightspot:

  • Multisite functionality: Now all of the California News Group publications, including the L.A. Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, are housed within one powerful yet flexible, multisite CMS. While each of the digital publications under the umbrella of this media conglomerate has different taxonomies, unique workflows and separate publishing teams, the CMS allows the sister sites to share content and communicate via improved tools.
  • A centralized publishing hub: The L.A. Times can now manage all publishing activities from a single authoring point, unifying numerous disparate systems and saving the organization time and money.
  • New story templates: Not only do editors now have the ability to fully curate the front-end experience, but story templates empower journalists to do more with their reporting. From live blogs to long-form articles to galleries, reporters can now tell stories in a variety of new and innovative ways. This premium reading experience—coupled with the decrease in ads—should ultimately translate to an increase in subscriptions.
  • Planning tools: Brightspot's built-in planning tools give L.A. Times editors visibility across the newsroom, empowering teams to better plan and execute publishing schedules and more tactically manage employees and an army of freelancers in the field. They can not only track the articles and stories being drafted, but they can also manage video production, photography and graphic design projects, helping marketing, sales and operations plan important campaigns and other activities in advance.
California Times Product Team t-shirt
It's easy to spot a member of the California Times product team when you walk through the halls of Brightspot.

  • Media Desk: With Brightspot's digital asset management product Mediadesk's powerful search engine, users can now find, edit and create content—including photos and videos—easier than ever before. Media Desk also houses the publication’s full newspaper print archive, making it simple to search for previously published content. Powered by federated search, a custom front-end and artificial intelligence, Media Desk essentially eliminates the following issues commonly associated with busy newsrooms: underutilized assets, wasted money and publication delays.
  • Optimized mobile experience: Editors can now fully curate and customize the mobile experience, with a robust data pipeline to power their mobile sites. They can publish the content once, and the site is optimized to render a mobile version without requiring them to publish in two different environments.

In developing the new site, the Brightspot team incorporated the valuable insights we’ve gained from launching hundreds of websites for some of the world’s top media organizations and other iconic corporations. We are proud to add the L.A. Times our growing family of leading global media companies that trust Brightspot to deliver optimal, highly personalized outcomes for their businesses.


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