WordCamp for Publishers: Taking in Denver’s natural beauty and some baseball.

WordCamp for Publishers logo, 2017. This is a red-orange asymmetrical block that says the event name and has a WordPress logo on a blue background

WordCamp for Publishers: Taking in Denver’s natural beauty and some baseball.

While I had been to Denver before I had not had the pleasure of exploring the pretty amazing trails and parks in the ‘Queen city of the plains’ until this trip. I had also not had the chance to see the pretty trendy and historic Highland Park neighborhood before. I have to admit, getting to see this side of the city, combined with the wonderful Denver Post camp location made Denver an amazing backdrop for a pretty fantastic inaugural WordCamp for Publishers.

Food and Fun

Speaker Dinner

I have only been to Denver one other time for a WordCamp and as a result I didn’t know that many folks at the Speaker/Sponsor dinner when I first arrived. Of course, that changed almost immediately as I was welcomed in by the organizers and as more of the #WPLife crowd showed up. We met up at the Henry’s Tavern for a buffet style spread of sandwiches, hummus, chips, other dips and crudités. The staff was pretty friendly and quick with the drinks. By the end of the evening I was well acquainted with a few new folks and felt a bit stuffed. I walked back to my hotel for the first of multiple walkabout experiences that flavored this trip so positively.

Day 1

Coffee was there to meet us as we gathered and it was OK.
Lunch on the other hand was pretty epic. Located right across the street from Denver’s Civic Center Park we were there for the Civic Center Eats food truck experience. We all got $15 vouchers to be spent at a truck of our choosing. I caved in to my cravings and spent it on sweet potato fries and fried pickles. Not the healthiest lunch but it sure did hit the spot at the time.

Brewery Tour

Thursday night we were invited to participate in a brewery tour at Ratio Beerworks one of the 87 breweries in Denver. The tour was pretty good, as we were taken in small batches to see the inner workings of this microbrewery that specializes in punk rock and barrel aging. My favorite part though was finding really good Thai food truck in the Finn’s Mannor complex right across the street. This part of Denver is old warehouses and industrial buildings but is revitalizing as microbreweries, distilleries and hip restaurants. Very hipster, but very good stuff happening.

Day 2

Coffee same as day one with some left over cereal bars from the previous day’s afternoon coffee break. I was glad I got my oatmeal fill at my hotel and satiated for the morning. Lunch was box lunch from Jimmy John’s and the veg option was a spinach beet salad. Pretty good and a nice balance from the previous day’s carnival faire.

After Party

The official WC after party kicked off at Wynkoop Brewery a little while after the last session and closing remarks. I have been to this brewery every time I have been to Denver so far and I take a certain comport in that. There is a pretty cool bronze gorilla statue in the front and many quality beverages on tap. I again found hummus, chips, french fries and crudités while meat and cheese based sandwiches were also offered up.


It wouldn’t be a WordCamp without some #WCKaraoke and we found a really nice but super popular (and therefore busy) spot to go sing. El Charrito is a local watering hole that turns into a swinging karaoke bar on the weekends. It’s proximity to the ballpark and to a pop up silent rave and dance party got this place popping all evening. Was very glad to be there with my WordCamp family.

Baseball game

One of the extra special treats of this camp was getting a ticket to go see the Colorado Rockies play at Coors Field. We had general rooftop access tickets which got us open seating and even included a few dollars towards concessions. It had been a long few days and I will admit sitting in the sun and a few drinks found me faded a little before the seventh inning stretch. I walked back, again getting to explore the natural beauty that Denver had to offer and called it an early night before my 5:30 am flight. It was a real delight to have this opportunity and I can’t thank the organizers enough for everything.


Opening remarks

My session

The Complete Introduction to WP-CLI
with Daniel Bachhuber

I had the real privilege to present a WP-CLI workshop with the chief maintainer of the project, Daniel Bachhuber. We had a very full room and eager students as we covered the basics and some more advanced usage of the command line interface. It was a pleasure to guide people though the steps and know that each person left the room with a working installation of the PHP based WP management tooling. When Daniel asked at the end who had learned something, every hand shot up. I can not remember feeling more pride after anything I have ever done at any camp. The conversations that flowed afterward for the rest of the event made me realize how much impact sharing your knowledge can have, even if you don’t consider yourself a true ‘expert’. I learned a few things as well. Mostly that MAMP will try and use the default machine PHP instead of whatever latest version you downloaded and are using with the WP-CLI. There is a pretty good article about that here. Special thanks to Daniel for inviting me to do this workshop with him and for making answering the questions rather easy, since I could just defer to his thorough and deep knowledge of the subject.

Make a Statement: Using React to Create Content-rich Articles on WordPress
Andres Escobar

I always love a case study. Rather than general good advice and technical how to knowledge, these talks showcase a real world example of these best practices and implementations in action. Andres is a great presenter who lead us through how IOneDigital used React to transform the Cassius website experience from ‘just another culture and news site’ to a truly engaging interactive experience. I didn’t take almost any notes on this as I had jumped over to the site to explore these pretty neat React effects like this one.

Distribute All The Things: WordPress & The Era of Multiple Content Channels
Jake Goldman

Jake 1 (as he came to be referred to in various conversations about his and Jake Spurlock’s related talk that immediately followed) began with some rather troubling thoughts around the idea that media is constantly changing and leaving old, well established paradigms in the dust. His main example was the decline of Encyclopedia Brittanica as they tried to understand the changing digital landscape and embracing the CD-ROM in the early days of the browser based internet experience. This hallmark of knowledge suffered from not being able to evolve quick enough. This was a very good talk that laid out the history of the publishing space in a novel way and gave me some real insights into the future of the CMS as part of, not the complete publishing solution.

Raw notes:
10UP Modernful stack
all engineering focused on digital publishing business success.
Helping the landscape succeed
Not going to dive deep on every channel
“All good educational narratives start out by scaring their audience.”
Short termbusiness survival requires you to balance reader growth with revenue per reader/engage,ent
NOT a new concept
associated press is a good example, not knowing where content goes, there is prescribed images, etc but no control on where it ends
Radio shows are similar, distribion as a concept is not new
digital is not now as well, lexisnexis, compuserve, AOL, NYT
Web specials from early days
email subscription channels, RSS and desktop readers, WAP early mobile
also tried to represent TV model online, channels
2008 – 2009
rss, xmlRPC
brings us to now
Jake’s two different ways to think about distribution channels
1 – Open web has turned to crap and we can do better but same thing (Evolution)
2 – A responsive screen of text and pictures is so 2016 channels, (revolution)
other axis
top – this is a different way of doing things, but have at it devs (open)
bottom – It would be best if you let us control everything, just sned content (constrained)
complexity increases up to the right
so does opportunity
not a static chart, solutions moving and changing constantly
Most new things start upper right, but end up lower left, printing and app store the same
youtube starts open and revolutionary, but now is rather evolutionary
Alexa is interesting as is VR since these are the newest and have not been as tested yet
Where the digital CMS fits in
CMS as a content design systems, this is where Gutenberg is going
now we are in multi channel content distribution
CMS is not the center of the whole web experience
instead a hub of the multichannel strategy
Website is just another channel now
CMS is where you create content
tomorrow is presentation layer is no longer in the CMS
Editors will be writing and collaborating in other tools, CMS will just be for organizing and storing it.

Monetize All The Things: How Condé Nast Profits From Multiple Channels
Jake Spurlock

Jake 2 (as he was referred to by several folks I discussed these sister sessions with), gave a case study view of the exact trends Jake 1 had talked about. That case study is Wired and its online presences of hotwired.com, wired.com, suck.com and other properties. I learned that wired properties are why we have both banner ads and Apache servers as the standard. So thanks, I guess. I walked away with a completely new appreciation for how CSS evolved and how one leading proprtiy can have such a wide impact on entire industry. This and Jake 1’s talks are well worth checking out once they make it ot WordPress.tv

Raw notes:
Conde Naste
Wired tech team (Wired Magazine) vanity fair, etc
jumped to Co-Pilot recently
Wired launched in 1994
Then it is was make them emagazines
high impact features
pushing into distribution channels
in 1994 Hotwired.com launched was original, not just republishing the printed mag
small images and text
14 person to 180 person office in a few years
Jeff Veen was early days
Wired invented the banner ad, went to an ATT microsite
hotwired had it first
MCI, Volvo, 1800 collect and Zima
dead ends in 1994
header in 1995, pretable
lycos bought hotwire, but wired still exists, Cande Nast buys them
eventually wired.com
wired 2005 launched
what a jump it was to CSS
2015 became responsive,
last month completely on co-pilot
other brands they manage:
wired invented apache, or at least standardized it
DIstributeion platform – other topics
Amazon Affiliates – too easy to make money from links, easy stuff
Newsletters – they make money
Apple news launch, was there for it
apple news takes a lot fo time developing for
high touch custom features, good relationships, but not a lot of $
advertisingSettings: {frequency:10 }
new ads look like text call outs
Ney Yorker is leading the way to next phase of things
subscription widgets in AMP
AMP coming out with STAMP, which is for stories from social media
FB instant – delivers stories and revenue
FBIA on revenu
Vanity Fair -11% GW -51% Wired +14%

Alternative Hacks: WordPress Security From the Outside Looking In
Daniel Olson

Let’s face it, the internet is a scary place from a security perspective. Every day there are millions of bits trying to exploit every weakness there is and attack your site. This talk took a very solid approach to looking at your site not as a WordPress site but as a general internat application. If we don’t have this perspective it is tempting to think very WP centric and see plugins as the right set of solutions instead of viewing our online presence as generic sets of security best practices to needing implementation. We need to make a disaster plan early and we need to make sure everyone involved is well aware of these plans. Also not evolving and discussing these plans is just as bad as not making them.

Raw notes:
This talk is not the ‘run grab a plugin talk’
remove WP from the equation, how do we protect our web applications
why would we care? Client responsibility
have their back
stuff happens –
see it as a design problem, not a tech problem
Approaching tech problems as design solutions
all around workflow
everyday tasks
lobby for the right fix not the quick fix
but compromise, got to communicate
touched on antpatterns
a few idea
Disaster plans – discuss them early and often
‘total data loss’ ‘client failure”
“no plan” “No SLA”
If you have no plan, get one
backup efficiently, not aggressively
‘If you data is in one place, it is in no place.’ – Someone
Apps sometimes store config as constants in the cosde. This is a violation of 12 step…..
Bot traffic, put your server to work and serve 404s with NGINX, Apache, or .htaccess
no reason not to use HTTPS now
Recovery, Scale and Automation?
Does host give you this, again config as code go JAMstack
Shifter – JAMstack
available everywhere but not just a CDN/Cache
WP in a container that powers up and down to generate static JS pages
WP plugins are not a cure-all
def still need them
learn what they actually do
can that
Tinfoill file permissons – read docs, don’t lean on Stackoveflow
MD5 is used by default becoming standard everywhere
hashing and MD5, try bcryotm, Scrypt

The Care and Feeding of Open-Source-Skeptical Colleagues
Kevin Koehler

I was very eager to see this site as I am constantly worried about the existential threat that free and open source software faces everyday. I will admit that I live in a bubble in the valley. I see FOSS as the default standard and easily forget that the majority of people in the world are still a bit leerily of this approach to code and tools. My biggest take away is we need to get over this sense of modesty in open source. We need to start bragging about how bad ass we really are, not for personal ego reasons, but to promote what is possible with this line of thinking. Really a great session and should be seen if you are dealing with anyone that seems suspicious of open source.

Raw notes:
We are referring to freedom not rights
Patience is key when explaining this
hard to trust things that are unusual
Already everywhere
so many projects run everything
not just for blogs!! 28% of internet
I read that it is not secure
printed in media reductively sometimes
secure as anything can be
closed platforms are security through obscurity
that is a falsehood
news stories about WP hacks make it seem less secure, press likes stories about this
bad passwords and non-updated sites are bad
WP is like the New York Yankees
unlike the Memphis biscuits
“there is no one you can call”
not a bug it is a feature
no one, but hundreds!ease for new staff and partners
Huge ecosystem with 14 year head start
harder than it looks
newspaper analogy – investing in paper mill and forrestry, or just focus on making newspapers?
legal thing, can seem restrictive
4 freedoms
restricts distribution, not use
You fully own your code
WP cannot go away
analogy – unfamiliar with the software world make it hard to understand
not like printing press, build use for 15 years
more like the Associated Press
Security, please use 2fa
4.8.1 point release a must
Scaling, small investment with big dividend
compared to other technologies larger payoff with smaller up front
before breaking news
Use known plugins!
Reputation not just a star
code review is magic
Success is often quiet
tech is not interesting
You are not as unique as you think
don’t let it stop when you put it out there
You must broadcast anything you are putting out there
Everyone’s code is ugly
you are your own worse critic
having code out there improves your reputation, a few issues does not damage your reputation
working in the open is kind to your colleagues
Dont sell as a tech investment
closer to a continuing education sale
WP is good

Lightning talks!

Unless this is the first time you are reading any of my posts, you will likely already know that I love lightning talks. Short bursts of knowledge sharing that sometimes go way too quick and sometimes are just the right length. I was very glad the camp organizers also are fans of these talks and scheduled 2 days of them!

How Digital First Media Uses WordPress
Mateo Leyba (DFM)

Raw notes:
like a lot of publishers
legacy antiquated systems for many years
how from a standardized perspective, got an admin, OSS, lot of dev talent
how to get there quick. – hired Alley
rolling out more site, 7 sites live
3 sites in a few days!
scary but awesome
sharing content but a million restrictions
main content hub site
views inside WP, grabs content from their site from either subscription
or copy it from it
REST API project
WP runner

Voice Apps for Publishers
Tom Harrigan (Alley Interactive)

Raw notes:
Create voice apps through dashboard
use existing content
Adds Alexa to your WP site without too much effort
really need to think of next iteration of interfaces
not just todays
increase in accessibility as well.

WordPress and Newsroom Workflow Management
Douglas Arellanes (Sourcefabric)

Raw note:
ninJS is the standard all is built around
integrating with many other tools makes this key
a central newsdesk source that can tie into ptrry much anything that can do JS
very experienced international team
bringing modern newsroom tools to third world countries
helping spread info further faster.

Reducing “Time To Publish”
Bradley Jacobs (Boston Globe Media)

Raw notes:
Large WP site
loyal following been around since 1995
in 2014 relaunched on WP
lot of content, really too much
no one was paying attention
3Million post meta table
time to publosh suffered
2-3 minite page loads in some cases
he was tasked with improving performance Explictitly for editorial pages
ignore the rest
Debug bar was the most helpful
unfortunatly could not sort natively the way they wanted
so they rewrote it to show order of execution an duration
easily spotted one seldom used table loading all the time
1900 ms every time for one field ot populate
made that optional load, immediate gains
don’t be afraid of making own tooling,
is still the most helpful tool he ever made, uses it all the time still

Useful Publisher Plugins
Ben Keith (Institute of Nonprofit News)

Raw notes:
The Institute of Nonprofit News or INN for short makes a LOT of plugins
and themes
and tools
for nonprofits news
Pym Shortcodes
using NPRs JS library
making available to all WP sites
Many other
Put it all together with Largo theme
building plugins for this all the time and at contrib day
Lot of resources for the nonprofit news world

Using WordPress to Grow our Network
Maura Teal (Fansided)

Raw notes:
Stared as 2 brothers who wanted to write about KC Chiefs
WP kept them able to adapt and grow quickly
WP Community built a tech team
owner knew a lot of WP community worked on WP phoenix
Actively trying to learn more constantly
acquired by TimeInc.

Customizer-centric Workflows
Jonathan Wold (XWP)

Raw notes:
fonts and sizes
Content preview and editing
showing simple changes but completely customizable. flip between site wide previews of changes
Changeset scheduling group any number of content changes to your sites
Unique ID, see cahnges without logging in. ****
Use customizer with changesets as a base and it makes awesome editing experience

How a drumming magazine leapt into digital subscriptions with resounding success
Peter Ericson (Zeen 101)

Raw notes:
Everything was PDF and flipbooks, landlocked
Solution 1
Web issues -IssueM
Working their way backwards
Solution 2
metered paywall – leaky paywall
3 free artiles
restricts PDFs
Current issue and archive subscription levels
Solution 3
integrates iOS and Androis UniPress
AP issues
Results 1st 2weeks after launch 900 new paid,
in apps subscriptions 10+%

Raw notes:
How to design branded content](https://2017-denver.journalist.wordcamp.org/session/lightning-talks-2/)
Silvia Christmann (Setka.io)

Branded content expenses
increases revenue by increasing engagement
design guides for publishers

Tune Up Democracy
[Ernesto Aguilar (National Federation of Community Broadcasters)

This was downright inspirational and I think I might write a whole blog post on this talk. Short as it was it reminded us all that there are other communities that could be benefiting from our community. This is one to fins on wordpress.tv

Raw notes:
Democracy suffers from isolation of feedback bubbles
tool to help
community radio
who still listens to radio?
non-commercial radio has different rules and goals,
local and staffed
unlike bigger media, different conversation
makes a difference
99% penetration radio
They need your talent!
help them by providing a space and an opportunity
We know a lot more than others, we could make a big difference

A Biased Guide to Managing Bias](https://2017-denver.journalist.wordcamp.org/session/lightning-talks-2/)
Jake Spurlock (Wired)

Raw notes:
Explicit Bias vs implicit (unconsious)
between 8 leels of company
how would that impact if 1% change per lee, 34% at top
76% prefer people with disability
My thought -> We suck as people,
Performance bais gender blind interviewed
white name = 4 to 8 years of experience
lot of impact not givent he same opportunities
men are more likeley
evaluations and peer reviews nee to explain
share and share responsibly
feel imposter syndrome more on performance attribution bias
Get groundrules, don’t interupt, everyone gets a voice
acknowlege ideas
maternal bias
79% less to be hired by PTA membership
1/2 likely be promoted
oppered $11K less on average
counteract can’t make assumptions
manage parental leave
“culture fit” is actually comething to counteract
more divisity leads to better things ins tudy after study

Gutenberg and Publishers (Unconference/Conversation Track)
Aaron Jorbin

This was the only un-conference track session I attended. I am excited about the future of the Gutenberg project and what it will bring to WordPress. It was very insightful to hear how publishers are viewing and thinking about this project and the impact it might have to their livelihood. My main take away from this was, as WP becomes more and more the content store and the editing experience moves toward other services as does the presentation layer, the native editing experience is going to be less and less critical to the editorial flow. However the short term ramifications might be more impactful.

Raw Notes:
Roundtable discussion
What are the needs of the publishing community
WP is the base we build on, not the product on the end
challenges with current?
Longform layouts
collaborative editing (many people agreed)
moving info into WP
allowing users to pre-publish in home/category views
who has written a post and published on site with Guttenbrg, few hands, who did it without a bug report resulting? no one
it is early
custom part of editor
field manager using ad 10up
what is the fate of metadata mangement? big concern
5 meta boxes or more most of rume
10 meta boxes about 1/4
20 no one
custom taxonomy – most people
could there be new standards? How you do it?
custom validation of taxonomy, no way to built in validation mecanism
couple Aaron used: taxonomy new can not be added only use from list
no pre-populated but must add one
have to select to save post
really easy to write beautiful posts in Gut and in Tiny MCE, but easy to write terrible ones as well
videos make no sense for print, so Gut will maybe make it easier to just pick up print ready content
got to move away from post body – must support HTML for backwards compatibility
storing nodes maybe as individual things
maybe JSON format for these things
which leads into what does ATOMIC news mean?
is anyone trying to store content in different way than WP does? No hands
Is this all just:
shortcodes reloaded
worry: post body is invisible to a parser
when querry a Dblock
set containers in
Gut does not look into Comments, not yet
Dream pie in the sky
select all views for possible devices
UI tab just mobile, just amp, just desktop
Vision is still being decided here,
We are taking this transcript and turning into notes to share with the team making this stuff

Closing Remarks

Contributor day

I was thrilled to be able to represent the WP Marketing community team for contrib day. We had a really good showing overall as over 30 people participated across all teams. The marketing team had a successful day and you can read those notes here. I was super happy to meet some new folks and move some of our initiatives ahead. It was a great day!

Wrapping Up

WordCamp for Publishers was not your average or typical WordCamp. It felt a lot more like WPCampus insofar as the general mood and feeling I got from the participants. Getting to see folks from competing media companies openly discussing how to solve their common challenges. I learned a whole lot and I am grateful to have had the chance to learn about the publishing space.

Denver has a lot going for it and I am very glad they picked this city as the setting for the first ever vertical focused WordCamp. I am already looking forward to next year’s event and to the next vertical focused WordCamp!

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