That’s a question every news organization should ask itself, whether it be for its main CMS or other Web software.
And when I say proprietary, I don’t mean just software built in house but also software provided by vendors. If the answer is no, our proprietary solutions are inferior, than you have some serious soul searching to do. Why would you pay for an inferior product?
Now it is possible that A) your CMS and other Web software predate some of the quality, free open-source alternatives available (many would argue that Drupal, while quite a robust option now, wasn’t that good a few years ago). If this is the case, your organization should look into modernizing its Web software ASAP. I still hear journalists complaining about being hampered by creaky CMSes.
Don’t let outdated software stand in the way of your ambitions, especially when there are so many strong open-source options available. A good CMS won’t give you a good Web product, but it also won’t stand in the way of one either.
But if the answer is B) because we didn’t know any better, than that’s a serious, serious problem. There are news organizations that don’t have the right people making these decisions. Some will be easily swayed by vendor marketing tactics, while others will go with whatever CMS integrates easily with their print content management system. Listen, your Web CMS is more important than your print content management system.
Ideally, both will be strong systems that integrate well with each other. But with a Web-first strategy, tight integration isn’t that important anymore. Back when print content was pushed onto the Web it was, but times have changed. Web and print content are often different, with the Web often getting many exclusives. Increasingly, Web and print content will be distinct, negating the need for tight integration (or the need for purchasing a CMS and print content management system from the same vendor).
Utlimately, the point is that you can’t let poor software decisions hamper the potential of your news organization. The good news is that a good CMS doesn’t cost much money. The bad news is that the people in charge at your news organization may not know that.