Using Issue based themes like Bulletin or Digest

Ok, I’m brand new to ghost and kind of a dummy about web/blog design in general so feel free to treat me like a child. I work as the editor of a small newsletter/journal and we are trying to port our content from a purely newsletter format (you could only find our content when it got emailed to you as a subscriber) to more of a quarterly journal hosted on its own website (which we are attempting to create with ghost). I’m looking at themes like Bulletin and Digest because it seems like these themes are split up into “Issues.” So you would think it should be easy for us to port over our old issues of the newsletter into these themes. However, despite calling them “issues,” it seems to me that these themes are really treating each post not as an issue of a publication but as an individual story or article. If I paste in an entire issue of the newsletter as a post (called an “issue” by the theme) there is then no way to differentiate the individual stories within that issue. I can’t tag them or link to them individually. Everything in that issue becomes a single piece of content that cant be sorted separately, by individual article. It seems pointless and downright wrong to call these “issues” when they have no functionality as such. Does that make sense? Am I missing something about the proper way to use these themes? Thanks for any help!!!

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Welcome to Ghost!

Ghost doesn’t have the concept of an ‘issue’ built in. Themes change how things display, not what the underlying data is. (This is different from some other software, i.e. WP, where themes & plugins can add really different data and functionality.)

So there are two options for issues:

  1. Make one post be an issue. Use headings within the post to break apart articles, add images etc as needed. This works great for email, if you want to send the whole issue out as one email. But you’ve identified the problem: Your whole issue exists as one item, without an easy way to pull out individual articles. (And build-in search will be a disappointing, since only the issue title and excerpt will be searchable.)

  2. Make each article within the issue a separate post. This is going to be a lot more satisfying, if you want to sort and display different articles on your site. You can group articles together using tags. So you might tag all of your first issue with the tag “Issue 1”, and then you could display all posts in the issue at /tag/issue-1. You could also use something like Headline, to display the contents of multiple issues on the front page. (Where you see environment and culture headings, think “Issue 1” and “Issue 2”. ) But how do you send that out as a newsletter? Two options:

2a) Create a separate post to be your newsletter email. In it, put a little introductory text and a collection of links or bookmark cards to each article in the issue. Send that as “email only”. Or publish it to the website and make that collection post the landing page for each issue. [This could be automated.]

2b) Paste the content of each post in the issue into a single post and send that (email only) as your newsletter.

I’m just wrapping up some automation for a client that does 2b (and adds local weather and her calendar events). I’d started out hoping to split her old newsletters into articles also, but we quickly decided that wasn’t going to happen - her old content format had changed repeatedly, making an automated splitting difficult, and she had 3000+ of these newsletters, meaning a manual split didn’t make sense. We settled on an archive of the old newsletters, and separate posts going forward. And we added full-text search, so that it isn’t too hard to find the old articles within the newsletter archive, if anyone wants them.


Thanks so much! This was super helpful!

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