Right here, #WPRightNow

WordPress.com blog post about the #WPRightNow tag, which can be applied to wordpress.com posts so that readers can filter for immediate updates to current events.

Traditional news outlets are crucial for getting the basic facts right. Your Twitter and Facebook feeds provide quick, unfiltered updates about events as they unfold.  What we often yearn for, though, is a personal angle: someone on the ground, or deeply involved with the story, to walk us through their own take on a complex event. When we learn why it matters to them, we begin to understand why we, too, should care.

Happy to see this—I think the current-ness of current events is a really important vertical to apply where we can to our reading communities. It adds personal depth to our understanding of what’s going on during important events, and it helps inform our own reading of traditional news. In fact, it can offer quick access to the right sources for traditional media. It’s a concept that largely originated with the spread of self-defined Twitter hashtags, has been applied a little more problematically to search engine rankings, and the more we can make it work on various platforms, the better. I’m interested to see if this initiative will work, or if the result will be overtagging of non-relevant content.

Editorial Feature Design: The Russia Left Behind

Another beautiful example of dedicated web feature design. The simply-animated map on the left-hand side is a particularly special touch, helping orient the reader both geographically and in context.

View the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2013/10/13/russia/

The Russia Left Behind

Three Ways to Charm a Publisher

My brilliant book editor lifelongfriend Penelope Jackson has recently gone rogue, opening up her editing skills to the world at large on a freelance basis to authors of all shapes. And as if that’s not enough! She is also giving us (us! you! us!) the benefit of her publishing expertise on a new blog, penelopjacksoneditor.com.

Aspiring book authors, start with her post on courtesy, acting like a grown-up, being wicked charming on social media, and using real-life word processing software for fun, profit, and the career goodwill of publishers.

p.s. side note: Lawrence Hill’s Black Berry Sweet Juice was also the first book (layout) that I ever worked on. Misty water-coloured memories, etc.

Journalists First

Democratising Publishing: Matt Mullenweg interviewed in The Guardian

I like the correction made here to the implication that blogging services have been a (implied: negative) disruptor rather than a force of empowerment for publishers. It has hardly been the hand of one blogging service or another that has changed the business model of information production and dissemination. And on the flip side, having connection with and control over your own logistics will always enable better things for publishers. In fact, it has always been the smaller, nimbler parties (i.e. journalists and special editorial departments) who can adopt more efficient tools faster than upper management budget- and decision-makers possibly could.

You’ve been a disruptive force in online publishing for more than a decade, and yet now you’re working with many of the publishers you’ve disrupted the most. How does that feel? And how does it work?

We were never setting out to disrupt the New York Times or the Guardian. Who we were disrupting were the vendors who were charging you guys $5 and $10million for crappy software. It was bad IT departments maybe who were getting disrupted, but not the actual publications. WordPress has always been about the office and about writing and things like that so a lot of times how we got into CNN, New York Times, Wall St Journal, basically the who’s who of publishing and online journalism – journalism in general – was from the bottom up. So it was a journalist who had permission and set up a blog somewhere and then it just kind of took off and then someone higher up took and look and said “this is working kind of well, let’s do more of it” and so eventually it makes its way up to the CTO. But we almost never, ever come in through the top, we always come in through the bottom.

Read the full article.

Three sleeps to Savagery

Counting down to the Savages show on Monday. If you’re curious, you can check out their site, or read/watch/immerse yourself in this Pitchfork story, which double-duties as one of my favourite uses to date of the emerging trend towards big, multimedia, cover stories with the custom design features they deserve to best tell the story.

Savages – Silence Yourself cover