A quick overview of our editorial workflow

Lauren Rabaino asked on a previous post for a video of our entire workflow. The whole process is actually pretty simple, so it wasn’t hard to record it.

Everything starts in Google Docs — that’s where the reporters write their stories, the AEs read them and the copy editors edit them. We interface with Google Docs via its API and WordPress via XML-RPC to move stories out of a folder and into the CMS. It requires a bit of cleanup, but for the most part everything goes smoothly.

All the stories are then saved on a local server as Indesign Tagged Text files, and prepared for print. Styles are applied, the byline and headline is added to the top of the story and a few other changes are made. We try to keep as much formatting from the web to print as possible, including bolding, italics, and a whole host of styles, particularly for sports.

We custom-built a plugin for InDesign that allows us to easily search WordPress and import the files from the server.


10 thoughts on “A quick overview of our editorial workflow”

  1. I have to say, Google Docs to WordPress is a brilliant workflow, one I perhaps will one day use since I design and develop a lot on WordPress. Can’t wait till you release that inDesign plugin as well!

  2. Absolutly brilliant! I like the idea a lot!

    I wonder if it was difficult to write the Indesign Plugin? Could you recommend any tutorials or source code for that?


  3. We took BDN’s lead and went WordPress first, InDesign second. We did that mainly with Dirty Suds’ Export to InDesign plugin.

    We had to modify the taggedtext.php and print.php parts of the plugin heavily to 1) get InDesign 3.0 Mac to place the tagged text files, 2) give the designers fully style-defined files to speed their workflow, 3) give the editors hard copy with enough story length detail (approximation of column inches) for layout planning and 4) use custom fields for production notes, print headline, print and online subhead, print captions and Mac-friendly filename (specified by the editor on the story budget).

    We found that the tagged text files didn’t work initially for us because the plugin-coded output in the text file was for ANSI-MAC. We writers use Windows boxes. Production computers are Macs, so InDesign 3.0 Mac wasn’t reading the files as tagged text. So we had to change the plugin to put ANSI-WIN at the top of the output file and experiment with the first tags in the file to match what InDesign 3.0 would output. We had to change the Adobe tags, because the truncated ones weren’t being read by 3.0.

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for sharing this plugin. I must admit as someone who’s just teaching myself the ropes for wordpress, including those CoPress’ excellent EditFlow plugin, it didn’t even occur to me to search for InDesign among WP’s plugins.

      I will definitely be toying with this to see if we can get it up in our newsroom.

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