Content Ninja's Weblog

An exploratory journey on the edge of newspaper evolution

Upsetting the apple cart April 7, 2008

WordPress has dinked with my social media world.

Just when I’m getting comfortable, maybe even smug, thinking that “Hey! I can do this blogging thing!” WordPress makes changes to how the backend looks and operates. I know what you’re thinking: Suck it up, missy. You’d be right. Change is good, and disruption can be invigorating.

Speaking of which, Leonard Witt of the Public Journalism Network ( blogged about the Next Newsroom conference last week at Duke University. Witt posted a terrific video interview by Bill Densmore with Randy Covington, who leads the IFRA Newsplex at the University of South Carolina. See the video here:

For just a five-minute interview, Covington has a lot to say about how European media companies are farther along with mainstreaming innovation (hence, IFRA’s underwriting of Newsplex) and about the differences he sees between family and corporate ownership when it comes to American newspaper innovation. (Family-owned media are more progressive.)

Yes, we’re seeing first-hand the commitment of a family-owned newspaper to exploring and funding innovation.

Another interesting read is Jack Shafer’s post at Slate ( on the Washington Post’s grand experiment to break the “assembly line” feel of news. Follow Shafer’s link to the Post staff memo.

To be honest, we’re already doing many of the things the Post will try — dayside editing and layout of non-breaking news and fewer edits on non-major stories, to name a few. It may be less like an assembly line, but it’s still heavily production-driven.

Shafer says the plan will “capitalize on the power of the network,” but I don’t see that mirrored in the memo. The Post is calling on more cooperation among internal staff, but internal changes in workflow are not innovative or disruptive enough to be effective.

Ironic, isn’t it, coming from the woman who got perturbed with WordPress changes?