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How to manage user roles and user access in Superdesk

Managing roles and access in Superdesk
Managing roles and access in Superdesk

Just like a factory floor, newsrooms are highly-specialized operations. From audience researchers to writers, sub editors to management, the people who produce news bring different skills to the art of content production.

Superdesk’s digital newsroom functions the same way. Whether your shop is physical or remote, the CMS’s user roles, responsibilities, and access rights are clearly defined so that the assembly line of news is as efficient as possible. 

In this “How-to” post you’ll learn the basics of creating user roles and profiles, and the best way to manage permissions for your editorial team. Just as all Desks, Stages, and Content Templates are fully customisable in the Superdesk interface, so, too, are User Roles and User Permissions.

To get started, log in to Superdesk. Once inside, navigate to the ‘User Roles’ window, which can be found under the ‘Settings’ tab via the Hamburger menu at the top left corner of the Superdesk interface.

Setting user roles
Setting user roles(Photo: Gregory Bruno)Copyrights Sourcefabic

From here you can set up the roles that will define your team’s workflow. For example, let’s say you wanted to add a new role to your content operation – maybe a typical newsroom role like “editor,” “reporter,” or “copy editor.” You can do that by clicking the ‘Add New’ button at the top right and filling in the fields. Selecting ‘Set as Default’ will set that role as the top pick in any new user creation. 

You can also rename, change the description of, or delete roles by clicking the icons that appear when you mouse-over them. A new instance of Superdesk is like a clean canvas, and you can set up your roles any way you like.

Editing user roles
Editing user roles(Photo: Gregory Bruno)Copyrights Sourcefabic

Once you’ve created your ‘User Roles,’ you can set the permissions for each task – for example, giving editors the exclusive ability to publish content – by clicking the ‘Roles Privileges’ tab. To make changes at the role level, simply use the checkboxes to add or remove privileges. Individual privileges, meanwhile, can be edited from the user profile view (more on that below). 

Let’s walk through a hypothetical scenario to see this all in action. Imagine your digital newsroom has just hired a team of investigative reporters. To do their jobs, they need specific rights and permissions that differ from the producers, beat reporters, and sub-editors on staff. As an admin, you can go to the ‘Roles and Privileges’ pane and grant permissions to the entirety of this newly-created role. 

Setting role privileges
Setting role privileges(Photo: Gregory Bruno)Copyrights Sourcefabic

Next, you need to create users for each of the investigative reporters. To do that, go to the ‘User Management’ tab in the main Hamburger menu. In this example, we’ll create a new profile for Jane Doe. Click the blue ‘+’ icon in the upper right, and fill in the required fields – name, user name, email, language preference, and role. You can also add an image of Jane by clicking ‘Change Avatar.’ [A cool note for editors: when a user is online, a green dot will appear next to their avatar. Admins are marked with a gear icon on the top-left of their user icon.]

Defining user permissions
Defining user permissions(Photo: Gregory Bruno)Copyrights Sourcefabic

Now, let’s say you want to give Jane additional permissions that are unique to her job as a senior investigative reporter. You can set these individual rights by going to her profile under the ‘User Management’ tab. Sort alphabetically or search by name.

After clicking on the user name, click the ‘View Full Profile’ tab. Admins will be able to access the ‘Privileges’ tab. The boxes that are greyed out and already checked are privileges that were set as default tasks – such as the ability to create content – for the investigative reporter role. To add additional permissions for Jane we will simply tick the additional tasks we want to assign, and then hit save.

Additional user permissions
Additional user permissions(Photo: Gregory Bruno)Copyrights Sourcefabic

As in a physical newsroom, roles and privileges in Superdesk are designed to fit together seamlessly. Best of all, they are meant to mirror real-life scenarios. Let’s say the boss doesn’t want every sports editor to have the ability to edit copy on the business desk, or needs to task a senior reporter on the News Desk with publishing rights. With Superdesk, you’re in charge of the rules that govern how news in your organisation is actually produced. And, because Superdesk works for you, nothing is ever set in stone. Changes and updates are just a click away. 

Need more help? Try the Superdesk manual, or send us a note at [email protected]

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