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Finally! A complete editorial system that just works!

We don't know many publications that love their front end production system. Those systems are universally bloated with unnecessary features, buggy, hard to use and expensive. But now Creative Circle can offer the functionality you need at a reasonable cost.

By Bill Ostendorf

For a long time, people asked us which editorial production system we would recommend. It was a tough question. We are very familiar with all of the industry's options, domestic and foreign, and they all have fatal flaws.

Bloated with arcane features and buggy plug-ins, the majority of these systems are overpriced and complex. And several domestic players haven't done any significant R&D in years. Innovation in print production was pretty much non-existent.

In addition, legacy front end system vendors have terrible online platforms, especially when it comes to design and user interfaces. The web companies that offer "full CMS" products are really just web sites with some reverse publishing tools (and, sadly, even their web sites aren't up to modern standards).

We even have several clients who are suing their front end system vendors for misrepresenting their all-in-one "cloud" technology.

No one has stepped up to create a print production solution that was right for today's production and budgeting challenges. Until now.

Creative Circle is announcing the release of newsroomQ, a new print production CMS that is built for low cost, low maintenance operations in a desktop-driven environment.

As print production experts who have led the redesign of nearly 600 print publications, we knew what was needed. And what wasn't. But we were hesitant to enter the print production market. We wanted to continue to focus on being the best web site provider in the industry. Until we started getting more urgent calls from our existing clients.

With the consolidation that came with the Recession, there were fewer choices and the two firms that now dominate the market in the U.S. are both aggressively raising prices, gouging their clients for their own short-term gains. We felt we had to act to help the industry. No one can afford increased print production costs with no added benefits in the current economic environment.

So we started to explore how we could help. One of our consulting clients, the Small Newspaper Group with papers in Illinois and Minnesota, had developed their own print production platform, which they've been using to produce four daily newspapers and several other publications since 2007. It was basic but stable, and we saw an opportunity to use it to help the industry fend off the monopolistic behavior of our competitors. By licensing and modifying the core of that platform, we got newsroomQ to market in just one year.

As a consulting firm, we are often contrarians - recommending that our clients ignore or go against what all the other papers are doing. (And that strategy usually works!) So in creating newsroomQ, we took a tactic that was the opposite of what other vendors were doing to build print production systems. Other production systems try to manipulate and control InDesign or Quark using plug-ins that lock you to one platform or version. These plug-ins are usually aimed at making these platforms more automated. But as designers who are experts at getting the most from desktop publishing systems, we understand the power of these platforms. And we know how to manage them to create an efficient, streamlined editing and production operation.

So instead of trying to control desktop platforms, we focused on staying out of the way of InDesign or Quark. We concentrated on supplementing them with tools they don't possess. We built newsroomQ to manage workflow, integration with other systems, metadata, multimedia and archiving. This doesn't require any plug-ins and assures newsroomQ would be clean, simple and stable.

The reality is that desktop publishing systems are more advanced than they were just a few years ago. Today, all the ways other systems try to manipulate these desktop publishing systems are better off done using tools within those desktop systems.

We engineered newsroomQ to extend desktop publishing and add value to these programs but otherwise to just get out of the way. As a result, newsroomQ is affordable, reliable, quick to deploy, innovative and effective. That's right, a front end system that really doesn't stink.

Combined with our industry-leading mediasiteQ web platform, we're proud to now offer every publication high-quality CMS solutions that fit our passion for making excellence affordable - in print and online.

We also offer training, redesign and consulting services to help anyone set up the best and most efficient workflows and products. And we offer high-quality outsourcing to produce publications directly in our offices.

We hope we'll be able to help you soon.

Bill is the founder and president of Creative Circle Media Solutions and is actively involved in all our software development, consulting and print redesigns.

• Works with either Quark or InDesign

InCopy is recommended but it also works with CopyDesk, Word, Google or nothing as a text editing platform.

Can be configured on a local server, in the cloud or both.

Designed for full, two-way publishing capability with Creative Circle's mediasiteQ web CMS, but works seamlessly with any web software.

Easiest editorial system to deploy and learn.

Serves as text and visual archive.

Straightforward, flat rate pricing that isn't based on seats or volume, which makes it less expensive than complex systems deployed by other vendors.

Can handle multiple publications and hub production environments.

Stable, simple and secure.

Further, integrated support is available, including editorial training, print redesigns and strategic consulting. We can help you create a hub, make your operations more efficient or improve your content.