I'm excited to be a part of the team that is organizing the first WordCamp for Publishers happening in Denver, Colorado this coming August 17th to 19th.
In my work on Automattic's VIP service offering I've been able to see some of the incredible things that journalists and publications of all types are doing with WordPress - really interesting stuff that pushes the software in new directions. So when I saw some of my colleagues discussing an event that would bring engineering, product and editorial teams together around all the things WordPress can do in the publishing world (for publications big and small), I wanted to be a part of making it happen.
We're looking for speakers and sponsors now. If you know someone who might want to be a part of this first-of-a-kind event, please point them in our direction. And if you're involved in publishing with WordPress at any scale, or just want to learn about how media organizations are using it to modernize their publishing workflow, I hope you'll consider attending. Tickets ($40) will go on sale soon!
Much has been said in recent weeks about how the news media will need to transform itself if it is to keep up with continued deception from a President Trump, and with the proliferation of so-called fake news.
I think it's true that journalists have an almost impossible-to-navigate obstacle course in front of them for the years ahead. Covering hard news, calling out lies and omissions while maintaining their access, not becoming the story, not becoming desensitized, and just generally being on top of the actions of an administration unconstrained by any reasonable standards of integrity or transparency will be all-consuming.
But perhaps the harder task falls to an American public whose media literacy has apparently wasted away under the relentless influence of social media, clickbait journalism, passive entertainment, substandard education, and general civic apathy. It may not matter how well-sourced, researched and fact-checked a news article might be if the average reader doesn't know how to distinguish it from a speculative, misleading or just plain fabricated piece published by someone trying to get rich quick or advance an agenda. It probably doesn't matter how much time and money a media organization invests in being seen as credible if there is no widely accepted and respected standard for credibility.
If the public continues to give our clicks, attention and dollars to the most salacious and distracting stories over ones that cover the complex substance of politics and governance, there may be little hope for a strong fourth estate.
Continue reading Without media literacy, is there hope for the media?
At the beginning of September, the Palladium-Item newspaper in Richmond implemented what many other newspapers have in recent years, a "paywall" that requires users to have a paid subscription when viewing more than a certain number of articles per month on the paper's website. The paper launched some new features with their digital subscription, including a tablet version and new mobile versions.
I think this approach is a great thing, and is probably something they should have done a long time ago. Here's why.
Continue reading The Palladium-Item Paywall
Tales of my recent encounters with two newspapers of note, The New York Times and The Palladium-Item:
The New York Times
According to The New York Times website, home delivery of their Sunday edition is available where I live in Richmond, Indiana. Earlier this year I tried to take them up on that, buying a subscription online and eagerly awaiting that first Sunday morning when I would get to indulge in a paper-reading experience long enough to get me through at least one cup of coffee.
But that first Sunday, the paper didn't show up. "Oh, yeah, that's probably just some issue getting you in the circulation system," the phone rep said when I called. "We'll get it to you next week."
Week two, no paper. "Sorry about that, don't know what happened there. Hold on while I call the distribution center." They concluded it was just another circulation issue, and assured me it had been straightened out for sure this time.
Continue reading Tales of two newspapers: NYT and P-I
I believe the time has finally come to cancel my subscription to the local newspaper, The Palladium-Item. It's a decision I've wrestled with even as I've supported and found excitement in the possibilities for renewal at the paper (and blogged about some of that thinking here, here, here, and here), and it's not something I'll do lightly.
I've gone from subscribing to the paper seven days a week, to just the Friday/Saturday/Sunday package, to just the Sunday edition. Here's why I'm going to finally let go of receiving a print edition altogether:
Continue reading Why I'm canceling my print newspaper subscription
Jason Truitt at the Richmond Palladium-Item has requested input from the paper's readers on its current strategic planning conversations, saying "we want to do a better news operation in 2010." As I've done in the past, I'd like to try to answer some of Jason's specific questions here, and while they're somewhat particular to our community, my recommendations might be useful for other papers too:
1. Watchdog journalism involves writing stories that hold public officials accountable for their actions or stories that help to right wrongs in the community, for example. In what ways could we improve in this area?
Continue reading Recommendations for the Local Newspaper
Journalist Amy Goodman, along with two other members of her crew, were roughed up and arrested at the Republican National Convention despite clearly displaying their press credentials. Other journalists hoping to provide media coverage of the convention and the protests around it were pre-emptively arrested before it even began. And of course, many other people attempting to protest peacefully at both major-party conventions were rounded up, assaulted, arrested and more. For anyone who still had some shred of hope that the media have the ability (let alone the interest) to cover actions and speech that dissent from the mainstream, these incidents may not leave you with much hope left.
Here's an interview PBS did with Goodman about her arrest, including video from the scene: Continue reading Arresting journalists, preventing protest