Challenging times for online journalists: thoughts from ONA Dublin 2017

A few of us from the WordPress.com VIP team were delighted to join journalists, producers and developers from Europe and elsewhere for the Online News Association’s conference in Dublin, Ireland in mid-May. VIP is a long-time sponsor of ONA’s events: this was their third outside North America, but the first to venture away from London.

Dublin’s regenerated Docklands area has attracted countless global businesses in recent years, including many from the tech world. Google were our hosts for the drinks reception on the evening before. Facebook’s international headquarters, just a few minutes walk away, was the venue for the main event.

Mark Little: photo by Leopold Stuebner, used with permission #

The highlight of the day was closing keynote speaker Mark Little, known to many in the audience as a TV journalist and presenter on Irish state broadcaster RTÉ. He left to found social media news agency Storyful, bought by News Corp in 2013; then took charge of media partnerships at Twitter. Few could be better placed to describe the quandary in which journalism, particularly digital journalism, now finds itself.

Social networks had not set out to become the most powerful news distribution platforms of all time, he contended; it was an unintended consequence. Authoritative news content is ‘flowing through a pipe that is ranked and priced on the basis of emotion.’ With revenue dependent on competing for attention, and generating an emotional response, Mark suggested ‘you could not design a better model to erode trust in news and information than the one we sit in right now.’

His remedy lay in a move towards subscription-based funding, perhaps via bundled models as Netflix does for movies, or Spotify for music; and deeper and more direct engagement with consumers. Restore that trust, he proposed, and there was a bright future for journalism as a public utility, telling readers not just what they wanted to hear, but what they needed to hear.

A theme running through many of the day’s sessions was the uneasy power relationship between publishers and platforms, including our hosts for the day. As a man with a foot in both camps, Mark said it was time for platform companies to recognise and address those unintended consequences of their growth, ‘not through marketing, but through changes to the product’.

But there was no shortage of optimism in evidence, with sessions touching on artificial intelligence, clever use of smartphone notifications, and immersive storytelling techniques. Many of these can be watched on demand via the ONA website.

Online journalism may be going through turbulent times, but sometimes, that’s when the most exciting ideas emerge.

We’re already looking forward to ONA’s main annual event, taking place in Washington DC in early October. VIP will once again be a sponsor, with our Recharge Lounge providing an opportunity to power up your portable devices, whilst talking to us about the VIP service or WordPress more generally. Tickets are available at a reduced rate until June 29.

Announcing the 2017 VIP Workshop

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May 8-11, 2017 @ The Carneros Resort

We are excited to announce the next installment of the WordPress.com VIP Workshop! As the leading provider of enterprise WordPress solutions, WordPress.com VIP provides the premier event focused on the needs of enterprise WordPress users. In our 6th year of the VIP Workshop we’re continuing where we left off last year with sessions for product owners and developers along with a Best of WordPress.com VIP showcase where we recognize the best of your work over the past year (stay tuned for when we open the request for entries).

 

The VIP Workshop provides a unique opportunity to learn from the WordPress.com VIP team in person, as well as exchange ideas and experiences with other WordPress.com VIP clients and partners through networking lunches and dinners, in-depth curriculum and exercises, and focused, collaborative conversations.

A quick peek at the itinerary – details & agenda will be continually updated on the new WordPress.com VIP Workshop site, powered by WooCommerce.

  • Monday, May 8th — Arrival Day. Check-in, special guest keynote and welcome dinner.
  • Tuesday, May 9th — In depth business and engineering sessions.
  • Wednesday, May 10th — In-depth product sessions and hands-on development workshops. We’ll wrap the day up with the Best of WordPress.com VIP showcase!
  • Thursday, May 11th — Departure Day.

Space is limited for this event, so register now and take advantage of early bird pricing! Early bird pricing is $3,500 each until February 15. After which, the full participant price will increase to $4,000.

Pricing includes airport transfers to/from the SFO airport, meals, and lodging (May 8th – 11th).

WordPress 2016 VIP Workshop - Carneros Inn, Napa, CA, USA

Header image by CM Howard from the 2015 Automattic WordPress developer summit at the Carneros Inn in Napa, CA

BigWP returns to London next week

Calling all WordPress professionals in the London area! After a brief hiatus, we’re pleased to announce the return of BigWP London, when we invite enterprise-scale users of WordPress and the agencies who serve them for an evening of learning, sharing and maybe a little socialising.

BigWP Meetups are an opportunity to peer behind the curtains at some of the highest-traffic and highest-profile WordPress operations. We usually have a handful of short presentations, usually but not exclusively technical in nature, with a chance to chat and ask questions afterwards.

The first BigWP of 2017 will take place in central London on the evening of Thursday 19 January; and will be hosted by News UK, publishers of The Times and The Sun, at their offices next to The Shard.

News UK moved thesun.co.uk to WordPress.com VIP last summer, becoming the fastest growing newspaper site in the UK, with well over 20 million monthly unique visitors, and tens of millions of page views every week. They recently added Scottish and Irish editions within a WordPress multisite configuration, all managed using the same innovative extension to the WordPress Customiser. WordPress is fast becoming an important part of News Corp’s worldwide publishing infrastructure, powering more and more sites in the US, India and Australia, as well as in the UK.

The schedule will be finalised shortly, but will include presentations from the News UK team, as well as our two UK-based VIP partner agencies, Human Made (our co-sponsors for the event) and Big Bite. Come straight from work: we’ll be providing food and drink.

Capacity at the event is limited; so please sign up today via our page at meetup.com to book your place. You will need to submit a request to join the group if you aren’t already a member: this is purely to ensure the group retains its enterprise focus.

2016 VIP Workshop – Session Update

We are closing in on the registration for this year’s VIP Workshop. Have you registered yet? If not, please find our helpful button below…

 

If you’re new to the VIP Workshop, our team hosts the premier event focused on the needs of enterprise WordPress users. We provide content for both engineers as well as business and product leads with the goal of providing the most well-rounded, relevant program possible.

For the Developer track…

  • a double-session covering WP-API, including using it on WordPress.com;
  • a content syndication roundtable that will feature clients’ and partners’ perspectives;
  • a review of automated testing strategies tailored to working with our platform;
  • a session dedicated to managing large networks of sites and the challenges that this presents; and
  • a review of some of the significant outages we’ve dealt with, the lessons learned, and how these can be prevented.

For the Business track…

  • Exponential Results with Small Teams – Time is our most precious resource. We should constantly spend resources to recapture it so we can put it back to work elsewhere.
  • The Product Game – Teamwork, decision-making, and change management.
  • Making the Most of Your Data – Using anonymous user data to keep people on your site today and in the future.
  • The Convergence of Content, Design, and Technology – The evolution from a channel-based approach to one that aligns and connects multiple capabilities to achieve its core objectives and enable innovation.
  • Net Neutrality – A leading voice on this subject will take us through some history as well as a look ahead.
  • Emerging Market Internet – Emerging market internet is the last blue ocean of users, but how do you optimize for their slow speeds and small screens?

We are incredibly excited for what we know will be the best VIP Workshop yet. If you haven’t registered yet, do it now before it’s too late!

 

Announcing the 2016 VIP Workshop

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May 9-12, 2016 @ The Carneros Inn

We are excited to announce the next installment of the WordPress.com VIP Workshop! As the leading provider of enterprise WordPress solutions, WordPress.com VIP provides the premier event focused on the needs of enterprise WordPress users. In our 5th year of the VIP Workshop we’re adding sessions for product owners in addition to our developer sessions. Also new to this year – a Best of WordPress.com VIP showcase where we recognize the best of your work over the past year (stay tuned for when we open the request for entries).

 

The VIP Workshop provides a unique opportunity to learn from the WordPress.com VIP team in person, as well as exchange ideas and experiences with other WordPress.com VIP clients and partners through networking lunches and dinners, in-depth curriculum and exercises, and focused, collaborative conversations.

A quick peek at the itinerary – details & agenda will be continually updated on the WordPress.com VIP Workshop page.

  • Monday, May 9th — Arrival Day. Check-in, special guest keynote and welcome dinner.
  • Tuesday, May 10th — In depth business and engineering sessions.
  • Wednesday, May 11th — In-depth product sessions and hands-on development workshops. We’ll wrap the day up with the Best of WordPress.com VIP showcase!
  • Thursday, May 12th — Departure Day.

Space is limited for this event, so register now and take advantage of early bird pricing! Early bird pricing is $3,500 each until March 15. After which, the full participant price will raise to $4,000.

Images by CM Howard from the 2015 Automattic WordPress developer summit at the Carneros Inn in Napa, CA

Images by CM Howard from the 2015 Automattic WordPress developer summit at the Carneros Inn in Napa, CA

Toronto BigWP and Developer Training Coming Soon!

The WordPress.com VIP team will be hosting both a BigWP event and a training course in the Toronto area this month, and we would love to see you there!

BigWP is a meetup event crafted specifically for professionals deploying, managing, or working with WordPress installations in enterprise environments. If you work with a large, high-traffic WordPress installation, you’ll find short and informative talks from other people who are doing innovative things with the same.

Our Developer Fundamentals II training course is designed to assist WordPress developers with learning best practices in code security and performance to help safeguard critical, high-scale WordPress environments, but you’ll learn things that apply to WordPress installations of all shapes and sizes.

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BigWP is a networking and education event focused on supporting developers, product managers, and editorial teams who run large, high-traffic WordPress sites. We’ll have a handful of short (5-10 minutes) flash talks on the following topics:

  • Google’s AMP on WordPress
  • Scaling WordPress for High-Traffic Sites
  • Developing Gamification for WordPress
  • Powering a TV Channel with WordPress

When: Tuesday, March 15th at 7 p.m.
Where: Shaw Media, 121 Bloor St. East
Event and speaker information is here.

Training: Developer Fundamentals II

WordPress Fundamentals II is a day-long, intensive course meant to improve WordPress developers’ understanding of advanced concepts. The workshop focuses on code security and performance, and will be taught by Stéphane Boisvert and Mo Jangda.

We recommend the training session for all developers working with enterprise-level WordPress deployments as the concepts discussed will apply universally.

When: Tuesday, March 15th at 9 a.m.
Where: The Foundery, 376 Bathurst St.
Cost: $950 CAD per attendee
For more details or to purchase a ticket, please visit the Eventbrite page. The class is limited to 20 participants – please sign up ASAP!

If you have any questions about either event, please get in touch!

Join the VIP team at an Upcoming Event!

We hope you’re staying out of the snowdrifts and keeping warm wherever you are, and we wanted to make sure you knew of some upcoming events the WordPress.com VIP is organizing or participating in, in the near future. We hope to see you and have a chat at any of these events!

We’re meeting & greeting in Seattle! If you’re in or around the Seattle later this month, several members of the WordPress.com VIP team are hosting an informal meet and greet on February 24th! Please get in touch if you’ll be in the area so we can send you an invite.

The Big Media & Enterprise (BM&E) WordPress Meetups are a great way to meet other developers, product managers, and editorial teams who use large, high-traffic WordPress sites. The evening is usually centered around 3-4 flash talks followed by discussion and networking. Past BM&E events have been held in NYC, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto, and London.

Boston’s BM&E is March 10th, after two reschedules due to snow. We’re hoping the date sticks (and not the snow)! You can join the Boston group on Meetup.com & RSVP here.

March Big Media & Enterprise Meetup

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2015, 6:45 PM

Workbar Cambridge
45 Prospect Street Cambridge, MA

45 Members Attending

** Update Part 3: We’ve rescheduled this meetup to March 10 because of snow and transit difficulties. Thank you for your patience! **The Big Media & Enterprise meetup is open to developers, product managers, and editorial teams who run large, high-traffic WordPress sites. If you plan on attending, please be sure to RSVP.Doors open at 6:45 p.m.,…

Check out this Meetup →

London’s BM&E is also March 10th. We’re headed back to London for another event! You can join the London group on Meetup.com & RSVP here.

March 2015 Meetup

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2015, 6:30 PM

Westminster HUB
80 Haymarket #1st floor SW1Y 4TE London, GB

15 Members Attending

The Big Media & Enterprise meetup is open to developers, product managers, and editorial teams who use large, high-traffic WordPress sites. If you plan on attending, please be sure to RSVP as space is limited.Doors open at 6:30 p.m., presentations will begin at 7 p.m. We will have 4 “flash talk” presentations, each lasting 10 minutes, followed by…

Check out this Meetup →

We’ll also be coming back to San Francisco on April 8th for a Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup. You can join the San Francisco group on Meetup.com & RSVP here.

April 2015 Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup

Wednesday, Apr 8, 2015, 6:45 PM

Automattic Lounge
132 Hawthorne St San Francisco, CA

1 Members Attending

The Big Media & Enterprise meetup is open to developers, product managers, and editorial teams who run large, high-traffic WordPress sites. If you plan on attending, please be sure to RSVP as space is limited.Doors open at 6:45 p.m., presentations will begin at 7 p.m. We will have 4 “flash talk” presentations, each lasting 10 minutes, followed by …

Check out this Meetup →

Also in April, a few WordPress.com VIP team members will be at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas, from April 13-16th. Will you be there? Get in touch.

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And our flagship event, the WordPress.com VIP Intensive Developer Workshop, is happening in May 4-7th and still has space available. More information on the event, and you can pre-register here.

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Several of the WordPress.com VIP team will also be at WordCamp London from March 20-22nd. If you’re attending, please say hi!

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To keep up-to-date with our events, follow @WordPressVIP on Twitter and check our VIP Events page.

Pre-Registration for the WordPress.com VIP Workshop 2015 is now open!

The next edition of the WordPress.com VIP Workshop will be May 4-7, 2015! We announced the event to clients weeks ago, and pre-registration for the event is now open! 

Do you run a large-scale WordPress site with millions of pageviews per month? Are you interested in optimizing and scaling up your enterprise site, and utilizing the latest WordPress features for your content? Do you want to share best practices, code shortcuts, and lessons learned with other VIPs?

The next WordPress.com Intensive VIP Developer Workshop will take place in May 2015, and this three-day event will include a packed curriculum for VIP developers with expert instructors from Automattic, the makers of WordPress.com.

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The Intensive VIP Developer Workshop provides a unique opportunity to learn from the WordPress.com VIP team in person, as well as exchange ideas and experiences with other WordPress.com VIP clients and partners through networking lunches and dinners, in-depth WordPress curriculum and exercises, and focused, collaborative conversations.

You’ll hear from other big brands and enterprises through flash talk sessions where WordPress.com VIPs will share their own experiences with building VIP-scale websites using WordPress, their workflows, shortcuts, lessons learned, and best practices, too.

We continue to receive great feedback on the VIP Workshop from attendees, and last year’s feedback was excellent:

  • 100% of participants surveyed said they would recommend the conference to their colleagues and
  • 92.68% said they would come again!

A quick peek at the itinerary – details & agenda will be continually updated on the WordPress.com VIP Workshop page, and we’ll be returning to The Carneros Inn in Napa, California.

  • May 4th: Arrival in the afternoon. Welcome, networking reception & dinner.
  • May 5-6th: Full days of training with VIP instructors, followed by networking dinners.
  • May 7th: Wrap-up, farewell breakfast, and morning departures.

Register now and take advantage of early bird pricing! Early bird pricing is set at $3,250 each until January 31st. After which, the full participant price will raise to $3,600.

If you’re interested in attending in 2015, just fill out the pre-registration form here or send in a ticket to VIP Support. We’ll work with you on organizing payment and confirming your registration for the event.

VIP Training Days in San Francisco & New York in November

In November we’ll be hosting VIP Training Days, our intensive, one-day, in-person training courses led by a team of WordPress.com VIP instructors, in both San Francisco and New York City.

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In each location, we’ll be offering our existing Developer Fundamentals I and Superuser courses, and our newest developer course, Site Security & Debugging. VIP Training Days courses are limited to no more than 20 people with each team of VIP instructors which ensures lots of hands-on learning and interaction.

  • Developer Fundamentals I — for beginner PHP developers & advanced PHP developers new to WordPress. A great review of WordPress fundamentals and best practices and the codebase, with a focus on themes and plugins.
  • Superuser — for site administrators, editors, and trainers for large or multi-author sites. A deep dive into the entire publishing process as well as managing users, comments, social integrations, mobile, and more.
  • Developer Fundamentals: Site Security & Debugging — for experienced WordPress developers. Attendees will learn how to think like an attacker and exploit the vulnerabilities before fixing them with security best practices and various debugging techniques.

These courses are suitable for both self-hosted and WordPress.com VIP sites/superusers/developers – the large majority of the material will focus on core WordPress functionality/features. You can read on below for more information about the other courses, or go directly to the event registration pages where each course is also explained in detail.

For current VIP clients & partners, there is a client discount available if you register before October 10th – please get in touch for the discount code. If you’re planning on sending two or more participants to VIP Training Days, please get in touch as well as we’d like to offer you a special group discount.

Register for VIP Training Days in November!

Current VIP clients & partners can contact us to be invoiced directly if preferred.

A special thanks to WordPress.com VIP Service Partner Voce Platforms (@VocePlatforms) for offering their offices for the New York training.

Be a part of the Big Media & Enterprise WordPress community in San Francisco and New York!

Be sure to join the Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in San Francisco or the Big Media & Enterprise WordPress Meetup in New York City! Meetups happen regularly. The next meetup in San Francisco is November 4th, and the next one in New York City is December 9th!

More information about the VIP Training Days courses:

VIP Training Days: Developer Fundamentals I Training

Description

WordPress Fundamentals I is a day-long, intensive course meant to introduce PHP developers to programming for WordPress. Attendees should be familiar with WordPress as a tool, and have a working understanding of its general terminology. Proficiency with PHP is also a must, but no knowledge of the WordPress code itself is expected. This is a great course for developers looking to build sites which will scale to VIP levels, and write secure and scalable code.

Prerequisites

  • Proficiency with basic PHP development.
  • Awareness of WordPress as a platform, including common terminology such as a post, a page, widgets, and sidebars.
  • A local development environment running WordPress Trunk. We will provide a virtual machine ahead of time for participants who don’t have their own development environments, but they will be responsible for setting it up ahead of time.

Course Materials & Requirements

Each student will provide their own computer (laptop) for the course, with working wifi functionality. A lunch break and light lunch will be provided by WordPress.com VIP. Students should have a local working copy of WordPress trunk installed and tested prior to the training. To download trunk: http://wordpress.org/download/svn/

Curriculum Overview

  • Intro to WordPress core, SVN, and Trac, history and culture
  • Developer environment and debugging tools
  • WordPress Development Best Practices
  • Introduction to Plugins
  • Actions and filters
  • Introduction to Themes
  • The Loop & WP_Query
  • More on themes
  • …and more!

VIP Training Days: Developer Fundamentals Training: Site Security & Debugging

WordPress Fundamentals: Site Security & Debugging is a day-long, intensive course meant to improve WordPress developers’ understanding of advanced concepts. Attendees should be familiar with developing WordPress plugins and themes or should have attended our Developer Fundamentals I course.

We’ll cover the basics of writing secure code. Instead of just listing vulnerabilities, attendees will learn how to think like an attacker and exploit the vulnerabilities before fixing them. In the course of learning more about security, we will introduce various debugging techniques to help attendees find problems in the code faster.

Prerequisites

  • Proficiency with PHP development.

  • Awareness of WordPress as a platform, including common terminology such as a post, a page, widgets, and sidebars.

  • Proficiency with basic WordPress plugin and theme development – actions, filters, loading assets, main core APIs.

  • The latest version of VirtualBox: https://www.virtualbox.org/

Curriculum Overview

  • Security: common types of vulnerabilities

  • Security: exploiting and fixing open redirects

  • Security: exploiting and fixing XSS problems in HTML, JS, and CSS

  • Security: exploiting and fixing CSRF vulnerabilities

  • Security: exploiting and fixing SQL injection problems

  • Security: exploiting and fixing remote file inclusion attacks

  • Security: exploiting and fixing clickjacking attacks

VIP Training Days: Superuser Training

Description

In this course, you’ll learn how to manage and use the WordPress interface from a site owner’s point of view; as someone who will be managing multiple users, their permissions, and ultimately sharing knowledge with them about how to use WordPress to publish a great site with an active community and/or audience. We like to think of this course as our teachers teaching your teachers – those who will serve as the WordPress expert in an organization.

We’ll also do a deep dive into the publishing process so our superusers can teach their editors, authors, and contributors how to best use the WordPress interface. From creating and publishing posts to managing tags and categories, from mastering multimedia and images in articles, and bulk management of posts and pages, we’ll cover the entire publishing process from draft to done.

Prerequisites

Users should have a working (beyond basic) knowledge of the WordPress administration panel / backend. They should be managers, administrators, or editors of an existing or future WordPress site with multiple users.

Course Materials & Requirements

Each student will provide their own laptop computer (no tablets) for the course, with working wifi functionality. A lunch break and light lunch will be provided by WordPress.com VIP to all students. For the purposes of the course, students will be given access to a WordPress.com site. Users will be requested to create a WordPress.com username if they don’t have one, and this username will be submitted to the course instructor. To create a WordPress.com username: http://en.wordpress.com/signup/

Curriculum Overview

  • User Management: roles, permissions, and invitations
  • User Profiles: settings, preferences, and Gravatars
  • Comments: moderation, spam, and notifications
  • Creating & Publishing posts
  • Managing tags and categories
  • Mastering Media: images, galleries, and slideshows
  • Bulk management of Posts and Pages
  • …and more!

Register for VIP Training Days in November!

Current VIP clients & partners can contact us to be invoiced directly if preferred.

Have any questions? Get in touch.

WordPress.com VIP at ONA and WordCamp Europe

This weekend members of the WordPress.com VIP and extended Automattic family will be present at two events: the Online News Association (ONA) 2014 Conference in Chicago, and WordCamp Europe in Sofia, Bulgaria!

At the Online News Association conference, members of the WordPress.com VIP team will be there along with a few of our colleagues from Automattic. We’ll be sponsoring a refreshment booth featuring coffee from Chicago’s Bow Truss Coffee Roasters, a sister company of our Featured Partner agency, Doejo. Be sure to stop by! Find out more about ONA.

logo11At WordCamp Europe, members of the WordPress.com VIP team will be there, as well as colleagues from Automattic. We’ll be at the WordPress.com VIP & Automattic sponsor booth as well as I am going to be presenting “7 Habits of Highly Effective Enterprise WordPress Sites” on Sunday. Several other Automatticians will be presenting that weekend as well —see the whole WordCamp Europe schedule.

If you’ll be at either event, drop us a note in the comments! We’d love to say hello. 

For WordCamp Europe, we ended up having two extra event tickets we’d like to donate back to the community. To get one, just leave a comment below and we’ll forward your information on to the WCEU organizing committee. Airfare, transportation, and all other expenses are not being provided and are at the expense of the commenter.