October VIP Roundup

October happenings in enterprise WordPress included the Online News Association’s annual conference in DC, lots of new updates on the Gutenberg editor project, WordPress 4.9, AMP’s second birthday, and much more.

New mural at Trew Knowledge HQ, by Toronto artist Leeandra Rae Cianci

News and Releases
Updates from around VIP, our clients, and our agency and technical partners.

  • Automattician Dan Walmsley took to the Chrome Dev Summit stage to share the exciting findings from his experiments with Das Surma. They used Progressive Web App technologies delivered via an experimental version of Jetpack to dramatically speed up site performance for simulated low-end mobile devices on slow 3G networks, the common setup for the fastest growing segment of the internet.
  • Congratulations to our own Mo Jangda for winning a Google Open Source Peer Bonus award for his work on the AMP Project, which turned 2 this month. We shared AMP success stories from the New York Post, PMC, and 9to5 network.
  • If you’re looking to implement Ads.txt, our new doc provides code and instructions to get you up and running. 
  • Through October the Gutenberg editor project rounded version 1.5, which included the first step towards meta box support, and is now at 1.6. This latest release was a big one and focuses mainly on the writing experience. Keep an eye out for the Gutenberg testing table at WordCamp US in December, where you can help the project by taking part in short tests. And for a fantastic project overview, check out Matías Ventura’s Gutenberg, or The Ship of Theseus.
  • WordPress 4.9 will be released this month (November). It’s chock full of updates to the Customizer and the Customize JS API, including the ability to draft and schedule Customizer changes, and generate a Customizer preview link. VIP clients can get a full list of changes as well as update schedule and testing notes in this Lobby post.
  • Designed and built by 10up, BetterNews.org is a new site launched by American Press Institute that helps newsrooms and publishing innovators embrace and accelerate digital transformations. 10up and API collaborated to architect the experience to support practical execution, engage users, and serve as a living resource for best practices.
  • Community engineer Jenny Wong breaks down why and how Human Made contributes to open source.
  • Rob Stinson at XWP offers examples that illustrate how big teams customize their tools and workflow to unblock content creators from reliance on development resources to get things done.
  • Technology partner Webdam’s new Connector for Salesforce integrates marketing and sales assets into Salesforce workflow, offering access control, tracking, and easy curation to identify the right tools for each need.

Media and Marketing Notes
Research and perspectives on the business of media and the practice of marketing.

“Micropayments are a middle ground for someone who reads enough content to hit the paywall but isn’t necessarily a candidate for a subscription, [he said.] “That’s the problem with the typical metered paywall.”

-Max Willens at Digiday, on how micropayments might best fit in to the publishing revenue mix.

“…while other livestreaming sites and services have passionate (sometimes niche) audiences, Facebook Live is the only place I can expect that guy I met at a conference four years ago and my grandmother to watch my video together.”

-Poynter digital tools reporter Ren LaForme, in a balanced take on the value of Facebook Live for media, along with other tool recommendations.

“The lesson here is that public statements on social media are interesting indicators of how people project themselves to others, especially for public figures, but should be complementary with other reporting and interpreted with caution.”

-Buzzfeed News reporter Lam Thuy Vo, in findings on the patterns and issues in social media publishing unearthed as part of her Buzzfeed Open Lab fellowship.

Featured Launch

Welcome back to the VIP family, Us Weekly! Founded in 1977, Us Weekly is one of the largest magazines in the US with over 1,950,000 paid copies per week and site traffic of over 20 million visitors per month. VIP agency partner 10up led the migration and replatforming, which involved moving almost 88,000 articles.

Past Events

There were a whole slew of WordCamps this past month, 22 worldwide in October alone. Here are a few highlights:

  • Gutenberg project co-lead and Automattician Tammie Lister delivered a fantastic overview of the project at WordCamp Dublin. The slides on their own provide a good grounding and debunk some common misconceptions.
  • From WordCamp Toronto, recap notes from Trew Knowledge run down talks on optimization and A/B testing, working with meta boxes, modern site standards, headless and “brainless” WordPress, and more.
  • Davis Shaver from Alley Interactive presented a history of the WordPress editor at WordCamp Baltimore.
  • rtCamp shared highlights from WordCamp Ahmedabad, with bonus Harlem Shake video.

In addition, Steph Yiu shared snippets from her conversations with colleagues at our booth and throughout the ONA conference in DC.

Upcoming Events

  • 10up will be sponsoring Klein News Innovation Camp 2017, Nov. 4th in Philadelphia, and CEO John Eckman will be attending. This unconference, formerly known as “Barcamp News Innovation” (BCNI) brings together journalists and technologists to help create better communities and conversations on the web.
  • rtCamp is sponsoring the second edition of WordCamp Nashik taking place in on November 5th.
  • The massive Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal is November 6-9, with 60,000+ attendees and over 1,000 speakers including Gabe Karp, 10up’s Head of Europe. Gabe will be part of a Marketing Technology panel in the Growth Summit track on Nov. 7th.
  • Digital Media LATAM is coming up November 14-16 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The largest digital media conference in Latin American brings together senior leadership from the most successful global digital media companies across business, editorial, and technology topic areas.
  • WordCamp US will be December 1-3 in Nashville, TN. A stellar line-up of speakers includes VIP engineers Philip John and Ryan Markel, Weston Ruter from XWP, Vivek Jain from rtCamp, Jason Bahl from VIP client Digital First Media, and Nathaniel Schweinberg from Human Made.
  • BigWP London is back on Thursday December 7th at 6pm at Twitter HQ. Sign up at Meetup.com to be the first to know when the speaker and topic lineup is announced.
  • SRCCON: Work is December 7-8 in Philadelphia. Ticketing is now closed, but if you want to attend and didn’t get a ticket, volunteer opportunities are still available.

Send us your news, events, awards, and other info for the next issue. And sign up below to receive these roundups via email:

August VIP Roundup

August in enterprise WordPress saw the debut of WordCamp for Publishers, updated functionality from Facebook, Getty Images, Chartbeat and Ooyala, progress on the Gutenberg project, and a number of publications returning to WordPress from Medium including VIP/Alley Interactive client ThinkProgress.

Read on for all of the details and our monthly launch spotlight – us!

@Gina_Cole_: “Favorite #SRCCON session so far: Addressing challenges like Hamilton characters would (except no duels). Thanks, @hannahsbirch!”

News and Releases
Updates from around VIP, our clients, and our agency and technical partners.

  • New WordPress editor plugin Gutenberg reached version 1.0.0 on August 28 and is now at 1.1. There are lots of new features and updates since our July roundup. This update from lead developer Matias Ventura offers a glimpse of Gutenberg’s current capabilities in action via video, and see our CEO Matt Mullenweg’s take on the project’s big picture.
  • WordPress 4.8.1 maintenance release was made available on August 2 (Lobby post for VIP clients.) For an overview of August across WordPress.org, check out The Month In WordPress.
  • Corporate Counsel magazine profiled Automattic General Counsel Paul Sieminski (paywall, free limited access upon registration) on our approach to protecting user data and our perfect score from the Electronic Frontier Foundation on digital privacy rights.
  • Alley Interactive migrated the political news site ThinkProgress.org from Medium to WordPress VIP. As one of a large number of publishers abandoning the platform, ThinkProgress asked Alley to help them find a new content management system. They were thrilled to gain more power and flexibility with WordPress. We expect additional Medium sites to follow suit.
  • Alley also recently launched the new site for the New York Post’s Page Six TV. The gossip show will review Hollywood headlines as well as fashion, real estate, politics, and sports. You can sign up for tickets to upcoming tapings, and it will include clips of the show after the September 18th premiere.
  • A Digiday profile on VIP client Quartz praised their approach to branded content, touting their 90% renewal rate, 3X the industry average.
  • Cloud-based platform maekit, from Australia-based web design agency MyWork, has acquired WP Remote from Human Made. Per the announcement, Maekit has committed to keeping the core features available for free.
  • Technology partner Chartbeat’s new subscriber engagement analytics allow you to segment users by subscriber status and analyze and share data from those groups.
  • Video integration partner Ooyala’s v. 2.5 plugin is now available (Lobby post for VIP clients), which includes new analytics configuration options among other updates.
  • VIP client The New York Times released Who The Hill: an MMS-based facial recognition service for members of Congress.
  • Getty Images released plugin v3.0 (Lobby post for VIP clients), which includes a whole host of updates in addition to a new look and feel. The new version features larger images in search results, an improved search filter panel, and the ability to easily set a downloaded image as Featured Image, which should save a couple of clicks. (Available as of September 4)
  • Facebook’s Instant Articles plugin v.4.0.5 (blog post, Lobby post for VIP clients) makes initial setup easier and also creates visual parity between Instant Articles and AMP. (Available as of September 5)

Media and Marketing Notes
Research and perspectives on the business of media and the practice of marketing.

Digital-native news outlets are also adopting other outreach and engagement methods. Fully 97% of these outlets offer newsletters, and 92% have an official presence on Apple News. Three-quarters, meanwhile, release podcasts and 61% allow comments on their articles.

-Galen Stocking, in a new Pew Digital News Fact Sheet.

Mr. Shani said the study reaffirmed his contention that people were looking foremost for authenticity from companies. Establishing that takes time; he compared it to putting money into an individual retirement account, where the dividends do not pay off for years.

-Zach Schonbrun of The New York Times, in response to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research on consumer skepticism and advertising.

The Lab is part of an approach to help brands and agencies that’s led to a renewal rate of 90 percent for branded content, nearly three times higher than the industry average, per MediaRadar data.

-Max Willens in Digiday on VIP client Quartz and their innovative approach to branded content.

Featured August Launch

WordPress.com VIP relaunched this summer on…WordPress.com VIP, natch. It’s the coming together of a number of elements we’ve been working on, and a pre-Gutenberg exercise in embracing the modular design approach.

Past Events:

Many thanks to organizers and participants at WordCamp for Publishers. Read highlights from our own Steph Yiu, a wrap-up from Institute for Nonprofit News, and many more.

Upcoming Events:

Send us your news, events, awards, and other info for the next issue. And sign up below to receive these roundups via email:

July VIP Roundup

Highlights from July in enterprise WordPress included our new GitHub Pull Request workflow, Gutenberg version 0.6.0, the upcoming WordCamp for Publishers event, 10up’s acquisition of Lift UX, and Brightcove Player version 6.

@jeckman at WordCamp Boston, via @johnmaeda

News and Releases
Updates from around VIP, our clients, and our agency and technical partners.

As part of our ongoing refinement of the VIP experience, in July we implemented a new, streamlined code review approach that integrates more directly with the default workflow of most teams. As of July 13 we have moved all VIP Go sites to the improved code review process using GitHub’s Pull Request (PR) workflow (public announcement, documentation.) In the new flow, when your team has code ready for review you open a pull request against the master branch. The VIP team will review the code on GitHub and either provide feedback if any changes are required or approve the PR. Approved PRs can then be merged at your convenience, which automatically triggers a deploys to your site(s).

  • The new WordPress editor Gutenberg has reached version 0.6.0, with a whole slew of additions, fixes, and improvements.
  • 10up acquired Lift UX, familiar faces to WordPress.com VIP. From 10up: “We’re very excited to bring their team, design leadership, and Emmy nominated portfolio into the 10up fold.”
  • Big Bite Creative released RSSUnify, a free tool that creates W3C validated RSS feeds from multiple RSS sources, for use with platforms like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor.
  • Weston Ruter at XWP published an extensive discussion of a question he got from a colleague about the context parameter in the WordPress REST API.
  • Alley Interactive detailed their launch of People’s video flash briefing on Amazon Alexa, with enhanced visual capabilities on the Echo Show.
  • Parse.ly overhauled their overlay bookmarklet with an eye towards making it easier to explore audience usage quickly.
  • JW Player offered some advice in preparing video technology for the announced deprecation of Flash.
  • Brightcove released a new major version of the Brightcove Player, Version 6, with new features and benefits, including an improved plugin API, dynamic sources allowing changing video types after player initialization, accessibility enhancements, and a simpler CSS model for customization. WordPress.com VIP clients will benefit from this new version automatically.
  • Let’s Encrypt will be supporting wildcard certificates, which can secure any number of subdomains of a base domain (e.g. *.example.com), as of January 2018.

Media and Marketing Notes
Research and perspectives on the business of media and the practice of marketing.

…for-profit media companies would be well served to pay attention to what nonprofit media organizations like [Christian Science Monitor] are doing. They should view nonprofit publishers in part as the innovation labs they cannot sustain in-house, and should find ways to partner and learn from them.

-Sam Ford in Knowledge@Wharton, on the ways non-profits can test and refine audience-driven models in ways that are far more challenging in traditional newsrooms.

Flipboard is becoming one of the biggest drivers of traffic to news stories on mobile, according to exclusive data from media analytics firm Parse.ly, which found that Flipboard’s traffic has been growing steadily, while digital magazine competitors like Pocket and Feedly have plateaued or gone into decline.

-Sara Fischer at Axios, on the growth of platforms built on simple visual user experience.

Just 37 percent of users who came from search, and 47 percent of those who found a story via social media, could correctly name the news organization that published it (2 days later). By comparison, 81 percent of users who directly arrived on a story could later recall where it was published.”

-Joseph Lichterman at NiemanLab, on a study from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

Featured July Launch: Food Channel

Recently acquired by USA Today, Foodchannel.com relaunched this month on VIP, taking advantage of USA Today’s common theme and feature set.

Recent Events:

10up CEO John Eckman presented Ten Use Cases for the REST API at WordCamp Boston.

rtCamp did a workshop for students under their “WordPress-in-education” initiative. Historically, FOSS culture in their region was more about Linux itself and Python projects. They presented WordPress and its power to 60+ students from all over the Maharashtra state.

Human Made curated all of the talks from their Out of Office event into a handy YouTube playlist.

Upcoming Events:

WordCamp for Publishers is coming up August 17-19th. It is a community-organized event bringing together folks who use WordPress to manage publications, big or small. This event will empower participants by coaching them on best practices, and encourage collaboration in building open source tools for publishers.

The organizing team includes folks from clients Digital First Media and Mother Jones, agency partner Alley Interactive, and Automattic. A handful of tickets are still available.

Presenters include:

SRCCON is taking place later this week, August 3-4. Our own Steph Yiu is leading a Pub(lication) Trivia Session. Alley Interactive has two team members facilitating sessions, Matt Johnson in How Do You Stack Your Tech Deck, and Pattie Reaves in Switching CMSes.

rtCamp is speaking at and sponsoring WordCamp Delhi. Delhi is a special city in Indian WordCamp history – it’s the city to host the first WordCamp ever in India.

Send us your news, events, awards, and other info for the next issue. And sign up below to receive these roundups via email:

April VIP Roundup

Welcome to the first edition of VIP Roundup, your monthly review of news and perspectives from across the enterprise WordPress ecosystem, and the digital media and marketing landscape.

This is brand new, and we want to serve your interests, so please send us feedback anytime to steer it towards what would be most useful for you.

News and Releases
Updates from around VIP and our agency and technical partners.

  • On April 7 we launched our phased rollout of required two-factor authentication, an important step in helping keep your sites secure. 2FA is now required for all users who publish on a VIP site. Thank you to everyone for their cooperation in making this process as smooth as possible.
  • 10up released WP Docker, an open source Docker configuration optimized for local WordPress development. As we previously noted, support for VIP Quickstart officially ended on April 21. If you’re still working on migrating away from Quickstart, WP Docker is a good option in addition to VVV and Chassis. If you have any problems migrating, we’re happy to help.
  • Playbuzz released a new version of its plugin which adds the new Playbuzz Creator feature so editors can easily create Playbuzz items directly from the WordPress post editor.
  • XWP offered a digital treasure hunt they developed as an outgrowth of their new visual identity.
  • 10up Senior Engineer Derrick Koo wrote a step-by-step guide as an easy jumpstart to help anyone who wants to contribute code to the WordPress Core.
  • Automattic, Mash-up Americans, and MIT Center for Civic Media hosted Design and Exclusion, a remote conference focusing on how the design of technology platforms excludes people. All of the talks are archived here.

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Media and Marketing Notes
Research and perspectives on the business of media and the practice of marketing.

The latest moves on the social platforms to address “fake news” include an algorithm update for Google and a broader preview approach on Facebook. Facebook will also invest time to train local newsrooms. Jimmy Wales launched Wikitribune (running on WordPress) this month, as a new model for journalism and publishing. Wikitribune joins a field of new approaches including Jay Rosen’s efforts to launch De Correspondent in the U.S.

“Absent any additional warnings other than the disclaimer, [and] fewer than 1 in 5 people recognized native advertising when they were exposed to it – and these were native ads labeled as ‘sponsored content.”  -A recent Boston University academic paper suggests caution and transparency for publishers experimenting with native advertising.

“…if you write a great story about an event, brand, or person not immediately recognizable, you need to explain what it is and why it matters within four words. More than that, and you’re meandering.”  -Ryan Craggs at CJR looks closely at the art and science of headlines and featured images in social media posts.

“We don’t need bigger numbers, we need saner numbers.” -Josh Topolsky reflects on what’s working with The Outline so far and what all media companies should be focusing on in editorial and advertising.

April VIP Site Launch Spotlight

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This month we highlight Anthony Bourdain’s newly launched online travel guide Explore Parts Unknown. The site features compelling stories, recipes, features, and video snapshots from all of the places Bourdain visits. At launch destinations include Madagascar, Senegal, Hanoi, Korea, Manila, Punjab, London, Rome, the Greek Islands, Istanbul, Vegas, LA’s Koreatown, Montana, New Jersey, Buenos Aires, and Colombia.

Awards and Recognition

  • East Bay Times won a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for their Ghost Ship coverage.
  • Agency Partner Hello Design was recognized in HOW’s International Design Annual for their work on #Sonos and #ArtCenter.
  • Technology Partner Sailthru was named to Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Campaign Management.

Upcoming Events

Further ahead: Calls For Speakers have been issued for WordCamp US, taking place in Nashville in December; and the first WordCamp for Publishers, aimed specifically at journalists and publication managers, happening in Denver in mid-August. Proposals for Denver must be received by May 10th; you have until mid-June to submit ideas for Nashville.

Send us your news, events, awards, and other info for the next issue.

Global News Q&A: The Technology Behind Their Responsive Redesign

news_2xGlobalNews.ca is the online news hub for the Global Television Network, a large Canadian broadcasting network with 12 owned-and-operated stations across the country. In March this year, they launched a massive redesign of their site, built on WordPress by 10up and hosted by WordPress.com VIP. The new site consolidated their many local and national sites into one responsively designed site that displays relevant content based on a user’s location. We chatted with Keith Robinson, the manager of digital products at Global News, to learn more about the vision and technology behind this redesign.

Continue reading “Global News Q&A: The Technology Behind Their Responsive Redesign”

VentureBeat now on WordPress.com VIP

At the end of last week VentureBeat.com migrated to WordPress.com VIP hosting

Started by award-winning journalist Matt Marshall in 2006, VentureBeat has long been a WordPress showcase site. Today, nearly 30,000 articles have been published on VentureBeat, and the archives dates back to August, 2004. There is a lot of our tech industry history laid out in these articles, and insights throughout.

Screenshot of VentureBeat.com Home page

While monitoring the import to WordPress.com, it was cool to see the team growth and the breadth of topics covered increase tenfold from its inception.

[Visit VentureBeat.com]

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