Rethinking blogs at the New York Times

The New York Times website was redesigned recently. You can read about the technology behind it. Personally, I’ve been waiting for a behind-the-scenes about the WordPress at the core of their blogging operations. Scott Taylor delivers with an article entitled Rethinking Blogs at the New York Times.

Because we are turning WP content into Module content, we no longer want our themes to produce complete HTML documents: we only to produce the “content” of the page. Our Madison page layout gives us a wrapper and loads our app-specific scripts and styles. We have enough opportunities to override default template stubs to inject Blog-specific content where necessary.

Overall, it’s less about a visual redesign and more about an architectural redesign. The NYT’s legacy system seems like it was an absolute nightmare. I tried to condense Scott’s article into a short blurb, but I can’t. So, if you’re remotely interested in the structure of large scale online publishing systems go read it (regardless of your opinion about WordPress). If you are a WordPress developer, there’s some cool stuff going on, like abstracting the away the visual structure.

SEO optimized headline

Gene Weingarten on the current state of print journalism and its bastardization online.

Call me a grumpy old codger, but I liked the old way better. For one thing, I used to have at least a rudimentary idea of how a newspaper got produced: On deadline, drunks with cigars wrote stories that were edited by constipated but knowledgeable people, then printed on paper by enormous machines operated by people with stupid hats and dirty faces.

The article skewers the online practice of writing headlines for machines, rather than readers. A good headline will likely garner just as much attention after being picked up by a human, and subsequently blogged, liked, retweeted and carrier-pigeoned, as it would from being a top search query.

Happy moon landing

Astronaut on moon with flag

It’s the 40th anniversary of man landing on the moon. Kottke has created a giant Apollo 11 post with links to photos, videos and loads of other information related to the event. In related news, I have an copy of the Globe and Mail’s moon landing issue, which I’ve been meaning to scan for awhile. The interesting thing about it, is the front page headline which was printed in large green type.

Newsprint for all

Newspaper Club is developing a service to help people print their own newspapers. It doesn’t necessarily mean a traditional newspaper per se, but anything with ink on newsprint. It sounds like an amazing idea to me, hopefully they can make a successful go of things.