case studies · planet drupal · the economist

The Economist/Drupal Project – An introduction

Economist/Drupal – Intro to the Publishing Tools Project from Leisa on Vimeo.

Some of you may know that The Economist is in the process of moving their web content management over to Drupal and I am really excited to be joining the team working on the implementation of these publishing tools over the coming months – my mission is to wrangle the Drupal6 interface such that journalists will be able to spend more time doing what they love to do – chasing and writing stories – and less time doing what currently drives them mad – dealing with content publishing tools.

There are a few reasons that I’m excited about this project:

  1. it’s The Economist! – it’s a company full of clever people writing thoughtful, well researched material
  2. it’s Drupal! – also full of clever, thoughtful people
  3. it’s a really logical progression from all the work that we’ve been doing on d7ux throughout the year which has really been focused on transforming the Drupal admin interface to be more friendly to content producers
  4. it’s a big deal – getting this right is really important to The Economist being able to realise their potential and ambition in the online space
  5. it’s Agile – we’re doing SCRUM in 1 week iterations with an experienced scrum master and even a scrum master master! I am a big fan of well run agile and always looking for opportunities to experience design working well in Agile projects
  6. it’s end user focussed – each one week iteration includes user research/design evaluation (ah, the luxury of known and easily accessible end users)
  7. we’re sharing the process – when The Economist signed on with Drupal the community and open source philosophy was a big part of this decision. We think this is a great opportunity to contribute a case study and some more exposed design methodology back to the community, along the lines of what we’ve done with the D7UX project, so I’m going to be sharing our work on the project here in the coming weeks and months (if you’re interested!)

To kick off the sharing process, I asked Kerrie Lapworth, Production Manager, and Barney Southin, Managing Editor of to give you an introduction to the project in the video above, and I look forward to sharing more with you as we move forward!

12 thoughts on “The Economist/Drupal Project – An introduction

  1. Great news! Being quite ignorant about international Newspapers I still guess the economist is rather a big player…

    Will follow this as it evolves.

  2. Oh, this is so awesome!

    This is going to really be the new high point for content publishing in the Drupal community. I am thrilled to see that your UX work for Drupal is continuing on and to learn about the benefits of this D6 implementation.


  3. Congratulations Leisa!

    The Economist team has been doing such a great job of engaging with the Drupal community and recruiting some amazingly talented people.

  4. We’re going through something similar where I work with a small group trying to work out some streamlined workflows for our customized platform. I look forward to learning from your team’s endeavors and hopefully will be able to contribute some of our own tribulations back to the community too.

  5. Cool congratulations on the drupal bug becoming a full time engagement and thanks for the presentation you did at drupalcamp Alberta it was awesome!!!


  6. It is really great to see an organisation as influential as The Economist embracing the open source model.

    Keep up the great work Leisa.

  7. This is GREAT! I love the Economist–listen to it every week (audio version). Now two of my favorite things are coming together in a beatiful blend of harmonious splendor. Ahhhh…

    Look forward to following the progress of the agile scrums and the new online home for this awesome magazine!

    Definitely a feather in Drupal’s cap…or what’s resembling more of an American Indian headdress by now!

  8. Excellent news! I occasionally have issues with the politics of The Economist, but I recognise it’s at least trying to maintain quality in a difficult world. And they do interesting things with visualisation and graphics from time to time.

    Go you :)

  9. This is really great. Gratulation and my deepest appreciation for your decision.

    Although at we do not use Drupal as our main CMS, but me made great experiences with Open Source Tools and also with Drupal.

    We also did not use Drupal out of the box. We did quiet a lot Development to improve the daily tasks for Editors and Moderators, leadin to modules like

    We also have an not yet published Module to improve Comment and Node Moderation on a post-moderation basis. It makes moderation and community management a lot more effective.

    If there’s any way, I could help you, just ask!
    I’m very curious for you new site. Break a leg!

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