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How Superdesk Publisher is Powering the Future of The Nepali Times

A PWA Solution for The Nepali Times
A PWA Solution for The Nepali Times

Founded 20 years ago, The Nepali Times is an independent English-language newspaper serving an international readership in Nepal. 

HimalKhabar is its Nepali-language counterpart aimed at decision-makers in government and business.

Both papers pride themselves on being an objective and credible source of news about local and international issues. The Nepali Times is one of the few outlets for quality journalism at a time when fake news and propaganda has become rife.

The pandemic accelerates The Nepali Times’s digital transition

Until the coronavirus pandemic, the papers appeared online and in a weekly print edition.

In April 2020 there were 909,714 monthly pageviews for NepaliTimes and 1,354,370 pageviews for Himalkhabar.  

This represented a nearly 70% increase over the year before, as people searched for credible sources of news during the pandemic. But due to the lockdown and ensuing economic crisis which led to a collapse in advertising revenues, the newsroom had to cease print operations and go fully digital almost overnight.

The newsroom began producing a new daily online edition along with several newsletters.

Safeguarding independent media with better technology

In one way, the transition was successful. The papers kept publishing, and readers responded positively to the new online editions and newsletters. The problem was that the entire technical infrastructure behind the Nepali Times, meaning its content management system (CMS), its website and its content archive, were all outdated and in urgent need of an upgrade. Editors and contributors needed a more efficient way of working with content, as well as meeting reader expectations of an online news experience.

Because the mission of Sourcefabric is to develop open-source software for independent media outlets, especially in fragile democracies, we saw the survival of the Nepali Times as a linchpin for holding the country’s media ecosystem together.

We collaborated with The Nepali Times’ editorial staff to identify a two-part solution for its needs. Part one was to provide Superdesk as an upgraded newsroom CMS: in the immediate term this would allow the Nepali Times to enhance its editorial efficiency and productivity. In the long term, because Superdesk is modular and open source, the functionality could be extended with functions such as editorial forward planning and production analytics to support the publication’s strategy as it evolves. 

Part two was to build a new website for The Nepali Times and HimalKhabar with app-like functionality built on future-oriented PWA technology. 

This would allow the paper not only to reach a wider audience and a younger readership but also maintain its unique selling point of credibility while expanding beyond the limitations of print into more multimedia journalism. 

"At Nepali Times, we needed a system that would streamline our workflow from creation to curation, but also flexible enough for us to adapt as our needs changed,” said Kunda Dixit, The Nepali Times’s editor in chief. “After 20 years, for example, the content is more multimedia and more and more readers on mobiles. Many of them ask us for an app, but we were hesitant because our current news cycle was not enough to feed the beast. With the PWA website that we are working on together with Sourcefabric, however, we will be able to ensure a good user experience and Superdesk can make the job of us at the desk much easier."

Sava Tatić, Managing Director of Sourcefabric, said: “Our partnership with The Nepali Times dates back to the early days of Sourcefabric. We are proud to have collaborated on a solution that we hope will serve them well for many years to come.”








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