ppi Media delivers StoryBox content portal for Schwäbisch Media

Multimedia portal for local and regional user-generated content

Schwäbisch Media publishing building in Ravensburg design by Wiel Arets Architects (WAA) (Photo Roland Rasemann/Jan Peter Steppat)
Schwäbisch Media publishing building in Ravensburg design by Wiel Arets Architects (WAA) (Photo Roland Rasemann/Jan Peter Steppat)

ppi Media has developed a new content portal for Schwäbisch Media known as StoryBox, a structured system that allows sports and music clubs, schools, churches and other local institutions to provide the editorial team with content for the regional editions of the Schwäbische Zeitung. User-generated content in the form of reports from local institutions such as clubs, schools and churches are an important feature of the Schwäbische Zeitung and its regional editions – both in print and digital. In the past, users would send this content to the Schwäbische Zeitung ideally via email, but sometimes even by post or fax, which meant the editors had to spend a lot of time manually processing the content within their editorial workflows. The texts and images had to be manually imported into the editorial system, and then complex adjustments usually had to be made to the text lengths. Furthermore, it was often difficult to clarify the legal basis for the use of images.

The StoryBox as a tailored project development

That’s why Schwäbisch Media’s long-standing technology partner, ppi Media, was commissioned in spring 2021 to develop a digital user portal that could be used to submit content to the editorial team in a structured manner. The features, user concept and design were jointly coordinated in workshops before the final product was implemented. Following an initial trial phase in the summer months, the portal went live in the fall. The browser-based StoryBox allows users to send three different lengths of articles to the editorial team. The portal contains explanatory information as to which format is suitable for each type of article. It is also possible to submit image material; a sufficient resolution is ensured and users have to confirm that they are legally entitled to use the content before uploading it. Once the material has been uploaded, the content is automatically imported and made available as a complete article in the editorial system.

Hagen Schönherr, Editorial Transformation manager at Schwäbischer Verlag
Hagen Schönherr, Editorial Transformation manager at Schwäbischer Verlag

“We’re thrilled with the new portal. Our editors now only need around a fifth of the time to create a full newspaper page from content submitted by local sports clubs or other institutions. We commissioned ppi Media to develop the portal, because we’ve been really impressed with the company’s customer-oriented services for many years. The StoryBox project was implemented as another custom development in the quality we’ve come to expect from ppi Media,” says Hagen Schönherr, Editorial Transformation manager at Schwäbischer Verlag GmbH & Co. KG.

Following the go-live, ppi Media’s team remains on hand to offer the operators sound advice and support for the StoryBox. This will continue to ensure reliable operations for this important component of daily production in the future.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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