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With a Hat Tip to WhiteHouse.gov, The Nation Goes Drupal

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, May 4 2010

Credit: TheNation.com

As of this morning, the Nation magazine is the proud parent of a zippy new Drupal-based website, over at TheNation.com. In a post titled, "Going Digital, Staying True," editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel makes an interesting case for the idea that their new, open-source content management system gives the magazine a chance to harness the flexibility of the web environment to produce and promote the same sort of investigative reporting and commentary they've always done, whether that's in the form of a tweet or a 5,000-word piece. Many magazines are in tough spots these days, and the Nation is looking at Drupal as a way to stay competitive by capturing and amplifying both their in-house talents and audience interest.

More than that, though, the Nation is drawing a direct line between the open-source Drupal and the magazine's liberal politics. The idea here is that more open, more collaborative tools can promote greater participation, which is something of a liberal value. One interesting twist is that the Nation, not shy of criticizing the President when it sees fit, is drawing some degree of CMS inspiration from those Drupalers over at the White House. Here's the Nation's Peter Rotherberg:

The specific platform we're using for TheNation.com, Drupal, has a progressive lineage as well. Described as "Software to Power the Left" by new media thinker David Cohn, Drupal was the foundation for the groundbreaking "DeanSpace" online community in 2004, and has since been used and improved by dozens of leading progressive advocacy groups. Today Drupal powers the websites of publications like The New Republic and The Economist, and provides the content management platform for a little site called WhiteHouse.gov.