Big media brands using open source Drupal to publish

Rumour has it that several well known publishing brands have moved from their traditional print versions into online-only entities in recent times. For these reasons I ended up surfing for open source publishing topics this week.

Maverick new players in this space might be interested in checking out and its ancillary references to Drupal, the free and open source software package for publishing, managing and organising a variety of content on a website.

At its heart, Drupal tries to create a “user-centric” platform for news, debate and sharing. Well, newspapers have always provided news, debate traditionally came via letters to the editor — but OK, online sharing is new for sure!

Drupal can be used to build everything from personal blogs to enterprise applications. Its developers have also provided thousands of add-on modules and designs to allow users to build publishing-styled websites.

If you thought that it was just the Dingley Dell Gazette that might use Drupal, then think again. There are several big media brands that use Drupal.

Celebrated journal The Economist is using Drupal 6 to serve the vast majority of content pages to its flagship web site, The homepage is Drupal powered, along with all articles, channels and comments.

The publisher’s case study reads as follows, “The Economist evaluated several open source CMS and proprietary solutions aimed at media publishers. In the end, The Economist chose Drupal for its vibrant community, and the ecosystem of modules that it produces.”

Some front-page examples are shown below:


The Economist, UK


Rue 89, France


The New York Observer, USA

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News outlets need to do more than simply ‘show’ their readers what the headlines are – they need to trigger debate and discussion on breaking news to keep web traffic running high and stay ahead of the competition. Increasingly, some of the world’s leading online news sites are delivering unprecedented interactivity to their readers thanks to the explosion of agile, open source social publishing systems like Drupal. Platforms like this offer new ways to encourage debate, foster reader communities and deliver a unique user experience for their target audiences. By switching over to a publishing system aligned to the user, businesses can offer a first class web experience that enables every reader to have a voice.
Thanks for your reply Jim - as you didn't plug your company or say who you were, I will do that for you. Jim Shaw is Euro GM for Acquia, the company behind the commercial end of Drupal. I will be running a follow up story on Acquia itself as soon as I can. AdrianB