TCMS - Assignment tool

Lindy 8 years ago in BLOX Total CMS updated 8 years ago 11

We are about to begin using the Assignment tool in TCMS for our newsroom. In testing, it appears that the only asset types that can be assigned are Article or Media - and media being ONLY a photo.

Is there a site setting to include other asset types? I could see this being useful for video assignments, graphics like PDFs, etc.

Lindy, the assignments function in TCMS is the area most in need of improvement. But Town News has been listening and has a slew of fixes and new features coming later this year I'm told.

Some things you'll notice that don't work right:

• You can't edit the slug.

• You can't sort by assignment date/time.

• Revision history doesn't show the user that made the change.

Honestly if we had seen how limited the Assignments functionality was before we signed the contract, we probably wouldn't have done so.

We're making it work for now, but it is a huge source of frustration in our newsroom.

Thank you so much for your feedback - I feel certain that these issues will be considered!

Lindy: The original intention for the Media Asset Assignment was indeed for any type of non-article assignment. Yes it is currently geared towards photos, but if you will use it for other things I'll put in a request to add the extra features for other asset types.

It has been difficult getting good feature requests for the Assignment Tool. We added it to BLOX Total CMS at the request of a client who ended up not using it. So it languished. We have been getting some good requests from Kevin and his crew in Galveston, TX and it is getting better in development waves. When it comes to the Assignment Tool, please keep sending feature requests. The best way, however, is through TownNews' CRM support ticket system. You can reach that at support.townnews.com.

The Appliance OS 2.11 version added the ability to search for assignments via slugs. And it corrected a problem with the due date in the Assignment e-mails.

Appliance OS 2.12 doesn't have any Assignment related items, but Appliance OS 2.13 will fix a bug with sorting by assigned to and asset type. More will come after that.

Kevin: And update on your three bullet points:

Editing the Slug is on the roadmap. Specifically you asked for it to be able to change the asset slug in the process.

Assignment date does sort. What is the problem?

I will add a development ticket on the editor not showing up.

Jon, just to be clear, I’m very happy with how responsive the TCMS team is to our suggestions. I understand these development changes can’t happen overnight as much as we all wish they could!

• That definitely sounds great.

• I really thought I had laid this out before, but in searching it turns out it was in discussions with Roger Lee and an email to Jim McKee back in August. This is our number one complaint and in hindsight it looks like we didn’t communicate about it well enough. See below.

• We discussed this one in Support Ticket 591135 back in October.

The problem related to Assignment Times is that there is no column for the actual assignment start date and time. As such we can’t even display this value on the main BLOX window but instead must open each assignment and click to the second tab.

We can sort by slug, publication date and due date. However none of these correlate to when the assignments physically get executed.

This means we can’t sort the assignments to see all of today’s assignments grouped together so the photo staff can plan their day, week, etc. Or reporters can look for an opening in the schedule to make a new assignment.

Our workaround has been to require all assignment names to start with the date and 24-hour time window so we can sort them this way. For example these actual assignments for Thursday:

160310 09:30-10:30 League City Food Pantry

160310 14:00-15:00 PRO BOY Doyle

160310 17:00-18:00 New CCISD stadium grand opening

Another issue is that the Date field in the Assignment is not editable after the fact. The time fields can be changed. But if you change the date it simply reverts back.

What really needs to happen to fix assignments in our view:

1. Add Start and End Date/Time columns to the main Assignments window.

2. Change the Start Time and End Time from their current “free text” entry to a drop down selection menu just like the start time on assets. 15 minute increments is plenty.

3. (Less Important) Add a time field to the due date setting. We have different deadlines throughout the day depending on section.

4. Publication Date and Publication are also not currently editable.

After thinking about it another very handy column to add would be City field from the address. This would not only allow someone to see when the assignment is but where to help in planning for drive time.

If you’re looking for even more suggestions a couple additional fields that would be helpful are:

On Media Assignments the “assigned user” becomes the photographer obviously. But it would also be helpful to have a blank for who the reporter on the story is and a yes/no on if they’ll be at the assignments along with the photographer.

I am more than happy to expand on this if needed since it looks like I also dropped the ball in make sure you had this request.

As an example, below is a screenshot from the assignments section of our old system. As you can see, that view makes it very quick and easy to see how many assignments the photo staff is juggling for the day, when an opening for another assignment might be, etc.

This is a great thread!

Another few features that I will surely put a ticket in on to ask for are: the ability to 'expand' the list of assignments so that you can read the assignment's description - similar to how you can expand a list of assets to view their details as well.

Here are some more:

Can we also have a column that we can turn on that shows the PAGE that the story is assigned to?

In thinking that the "Budget View" might be the answer to our problems, we are having issues with accessing it. We have located the webinar that relates to this but are not quite sure that it is working for us, unless we are missing something...

I appreciate anyone's input, other suggestions and support on how these features could be useful going forward.

It is a good Thread Lindy. Thanks for starting it. I'll work on your other requests for Assignments this week.

In the meantime, can you file a support ticket at support.townnews.com for us to get your budget view working?

Jon - I just did submit it with multiple requests.... Thanks so much!


Just to kick in, but a lot of those additions that Lindy has requested are similar to the reasons we haven't been using Assignments except for special sections.

Getting the due date straightened out from pub date in notification emails was helpful.

It's got so much potential as a practical newsroom tool where you wouldn't have to bop back and forth between whatever other program is being used to as a pseudo nrms (newsroom management system)

Thanks Marcus.

I also just discovered the bug wherein you cannot alter the pub date - - only the due date. Unless I'm missing something. I went back to my own previous tests where I assigned myself something but I was unable to change that date.

So - I tried changing the pub date in the actual article asset that was generated for me via the assignment tool....hoping that it would ripple a change of the publication date throughout the assignment and budget - but it cannot be changed. I'm going to file a ticket.