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How to ingest content into Superdesk

Ingesting content into Superdesk
Ingesting content into Superdesk

Every journalist loves a scoop, those morsels of exclusive content that set their news coverage apart from their competitors. But not even the biggest news organisations can cover every story. To give audiences the complete picture of global events, and to help newsrooms automate their content-creation processes, editors need to have the ability to work on stories from a variety of sources.

What this means for a newsrooms’ technology is that its content management system must have an easy way to “ingest” content from external contributors. Superdesk, our award-winning open-source headless CMS, was designed with this in mind.

In Superdesk, you can ingest content from just about anywhere ­– such as an RSS feed, emails, even a social media account. This is a feature that can benefit any organisation (in addition to news organisations) that process and distribute large volumes of content, such as research centres, universities, and government agencies.

In this post we’ll detail how to configure new feeds into your Superdesk instance. We’ll show you two examples – one for news agency content, and another for an RSS feed.

Ingesting from the wire

To set up a feed from a news agency, navigate to the hamburger menu at the top left of your Superdesk workspace: Hamburger menu > Settings > Ingest (under the Content Flow section). To add a new source to ingest from, click +ADD NEW in the upper-right corner of the “Add New Source” pane.

The following parameters must be set before the new source can be saved:

Status: The toggle at the top of the “Add New Source” pane allows you to adjust the status of the ingest source to either active or closed. If the status is active, Superdesk will ingest from this source. If it is closed, Superdesk will not ingest any content until it is reactivated. Closed sources are saved and can be reopened at any time.

Provider Name: In our first example, we’re going to create a new ingest for The Associated Press. To do this, add the name of your ingest source here. Note: this name will not be used for any type of authentication and is only for labelling purposes within Superdesk.

Source Name: This label is how content ingested from this source will be tagged under the “Source Field” in the article metadata.

Feeding Service: Select a service type from the drop-down menu. Examples include email, the BBC, file, FTP, RSS, and Twitter. In our case we’ll select AP Media API.

Feed Parser: This field tells Superdesk what format the ingested content will be in. Again, we will select AP Media API.

Article Types: These buttons let you select the type of content to be ingested for this feed. For example, you could set it to ingest only text articles and ignore photos, or you could choose to ingest a combination of content types. We will select text and photos.

Ingest frequency: Now, choose how often Superdesk will update the ingest source with new content. You can also tell Superdesk to notify you if the feed is idle for more than a determined amount of time. This setting is great for a high-volume feed like that from a news agency. With this notification enabled, you will be alerted if there is an error with the feed.

Another way to monitor errors is under the “Notification” window, where you can set alerts like the “Error” toggle to send messages to a specific user when something goes awry.

Content Expiry: This feature tells Superdesk not to ingest content if the source article is older than the expiry limit, which helps ensure your newsroom is only publishing current and relevant news.

Allow Remove Ingested Items: With this turned on, users with appropriate permissions are able to remove ingested items that haven’t been designated for use by a specific Desk. 

Now, enter your Superdesk username and password.

The next few fields auto-populate. After we enter our API Key (which is unique to each news agency customer), hit “Save.”

Configuring an RSS ingest feed

Now let’s quickly repeat the above steps for an RSS feed. To do this, create a new ingest source, select Status, and add a provider name and source name. For feeding service, select RSS/Atom. Choosing this will remove the “Feed Parser” option.

Now, select your article types, updates, and notification preferences, and on the “Host” line, add the RSS URL. In our case we’re going to use CNN’s Top Stories RSS feed. Paste this URL into the Host field and hit save.

Viewing your feeds

There are two ways to view your new ingest feeds out of the box. From your Ingest dashboard, you can view the individual feeds by hovering over the Ingest source name and selecting the “Go to items” icon. This will take you to the Superdesk “Search” menu, with this particular provider featured. From here you can create saved searches for this Ingest and add them to your monitoring view or to a custom desk. More on how to do that can be found in the Superdesk Manual.

You can also access ingests by clicking the “Search” button (the magnifying glass) on the navigation pane in the Superdesk Workspace.

Making Superdesk your own

This is just an introduction to the ingest capabilities of Superdesk; additional features can make your incoming content even more customised. For instance, with Routing, ingested content can be delivered to a specific desk or user, whereas with the Rule Sets feature, Superdesk will modify ingested items with time-saving edits – such as American spellings or organisational-specific terms – already made.

To learn more about what Superdesk can do for you, send us an email at [email protected], or schedule a demo by clicking here.

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