Why WordPress?

Here at The Seattle Times, we’re preparing to replace our decade-old digital CMS with WordPress. Can a free blogging tool power a complex, high-traffic newspaper website? We think so, and we’re not alone.

Newspapers have long used WordPress to power blogs (as if blog posts were somehow wholly different from articles), but a growing number of “old media” sites have moved their primary digital publishing activity over to WordPress, so we’re in increasingly good company. A few such sites with WordPress at their core:

And of course, a much larger number of digital-only news sites — including many that get way more traffic than we do — use WordPress. So it’s not a question of scale, I think, but more a question of culture.

In our quest for culture change here, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the inspiration we took from Journal Register Company’s 2010 Ben Franklin Project — a bid to publish in print and online using only free tools — and Bangor’s pioneering and welldocumented switch to WordPress.

Want to help us realize our own open-source digital news future? Check out our job openings in technology, design and product management.

An experiment: The Seattle Times in 10 Tweets

Inspired by Patrick LaForge‘s Times in 10 Tweets experiment at the NYT, I decided to do the same with a day in the life of The Seattle Times, based on the tweets of Seattle Times staffers. Here’s the result:

What do you think? Interesting? Or a waste of time?

Back to the newsroom, off to Seattle

When I left the Los Angeles Times in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis — a time when the newspaper industry’s future looked particularly bleak — I wondered wistfully if I was walking away from my last newspaper job. I’d worked for newspaper companies my entire career, and despite their sometimes frustratingly slow advance into the digital age, I’ve always loved newspapers and the work they do.

Turns out, I’m not finished with newspapers. Or they are not finished with me.

I am starting a new job next month at The Seattle Times as assistant managing editor, digital. I’ll be guiding editorial efforts on the paper’s online products, including SeattleTimes.com. The Times has earned a reputation for innovation in local digital journalism, and I am looking forward to being a part of the talented team that makes it happen.

I’ve missed the newsroom, and I can’t wait to get back there.

Photo: Clock at Pike Place Market, Seattle, by Flickr user mikeensor (Creative Commons)