WordPress 5.0 and the Gutenberg editor present a perfect opportunity to incorporate new best practices from the WordPress industry in our work. With a more streamlined end-user experience, individual organizations will be empowered to truly make their Largo sites their own. But we're also invested in making the developer experience easier.
The new post editor included in WordPress 5.0 called "Gutenberg" provides a more-visual interface that is "block-based." Everything now becomes a block, including "Custom HTML" blocks and shortcodes. Your old content will remain unchanged, but newly-written posts have many new options for customization to drive engagement and increase readers' time on your site.
The INN Labs team is issuing a major, Gutenberg-friendly update to the Pym.js Embeds WordPress plugin, formerly known as the Pym Shortcode plugin, which improves presentations of data journalism.
The Pym.js Embeds plugin creates a better experience for the reader with responsive embeds that scale to fit the story, reduces workflows for data journalists, and removes the need for tricky embed workarounds.
The Montana Free Press is a digital investigative news outlet covering government, social justice, environmental issues and other beats in the Big Sky State.
Investigative journalist John S. Adams founded the Montana Free Press in 2015 and joined INN shortly thereafter. MTFP has been publishing stories on its own site and with partner organizations in Montana since its debut; this summer, INN Labs joined up with MTFP to migrate the site to the Largo framework.
Our goals for the project were to:
- give MTFP a streamlined, modern look and feel
- improve the usability of the site for MTFP editors, media partners, and readers
- create new and better pathways to raise revenue on the site
- engage the public and enhance the stories as valuable public resources
Some of our design inspiration came from INN Members (lookin’ at you, The Marshall Project, Mother Jones, and The Texas Tribune) and some from outside of our industry. We wanted big, bold headlines, a thoughtful type hierarchy, and a clean, modern way to highlight MTFP’s stories — both the latest developments and the long-term investigations.
Here's what John had to say:
“The new MontanaFreePress.org website is a huge upgrade, and major turning point for our growing nonprofit news organization. The INN Labs team took the time to understand exactly what our needs are and helped us design a beautiful and more functional website that improves reader experience and readability and gives us the tools we need to strategically grow our audience.”
Out with the old, in with the new
Since MTFP typically publishes longer, analytical and investigative stories rather than quick-hit spot news, we created a fully custom homepage that emphasized their premium content. This gave us a great opportunity to try a different, clean and modern look for the layout.
Benefits of this custom homepage are big visuals for larger screens and ease of navigation on smaller screens. MTFP editors have room for both curated story choices and the most recently published articles.
A fresh and modern story layout
Article pages continue the sleek, clean design philosophy. We left out intrusive ads and ineffective sidebars in order to prioritize long reads, with easy-to-read text and large, responsively embedded photos and videos. Behind the scenes, our Largo framework adds tools for media organizations that WordPress lacks out of the box, which helps make it easier to keep content organized by author and category.
We didn't do it alone
Continuing with the “fresh new look” theme, MTFP’s designer Clint McFarlin created a new logo package to launch in concert with the new website and provided direction on layouts. We collaborated with Clint to find colors and typefaces that stood out from the crowd and worked well with the new branding, as well as on the overall layout and design of the new site.
Upwards and onwards
We’re excited to have made the Montana Free Press site easier to use while improving the experience for their readers.
Next, we’ll be helping MTFP implement a new donation process as part of NewsMatch.
Let's start with some ancient history. Our flagship WordPress theme, Largo, descends from work that NPR did in the early 2010s under the name The Argo Network. The network's work included best-practices recommendations for working with WordPress in news, published at the Argo Project, and an open-source WordPress theme called Argo, which INN forked in 2012.
Fast-forward a few years. INN was working on a big refresh of WisconsinWatch.org for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and was bringing in new features in Largo to support that refresh. The 0.4 release of Largo included a disclaimer widget that could be used to provide site-wide or per-article disclaimers and disclosures.
Today, we're happy to announce that that functionality is available to all WordPress users, with the launch of the Disclaimers plugin. 🎉
Largo sites running any current version of Largo don't need to install this plugin now, but we will be removing the corresponding disclaimers functionality from Largo in the next release. The migration process will be as painless as we can make it, with all your existing disclaimers carried forward.
Stay tuned for more plugin announcements in the coming months! You can subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter at @innnerds to receive updates. Or, just watch our blog here. We even have an RSS feed!
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We're so excited to welcome Tyler Machado to the INN Labs team as our front-end developer.
Tyler Machado is a web developer based in Boston, MA, and working at the intersection of technology, journalism, and visual storytelling. Tyler previously worked as the editorial developer for Harvard Business Review, where he built interactive graphics and helped start HBR’s chatbot presence on Slack and Facebook Messenger. Before that he worked on web development, social media and email newsletters at the Vermont newsweekly Seven Days. He’s led sessions at SRCCON, Cascade BOS, and Boston University's Storytelling With Data Workshops, and he's won awards from Folio: Magazine and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia.
Tyler recently received a certificate in data science from Harvard University. He holds a B.A. in journalism from Saint Michael's College, where he won the John D. Donoghue Award for outstanding service to student publications. He has done volunteer work with the DIY arts website Boston Hassle, as well as the Code For America and Girl Develop It groups in Burlington, VT.
At INN, Tyler will be the front-end lead on our team, working on a mix of INN Labs tools and client projects, and contributing to our mission of building open source software that serves independent and nonprofit publishers.
Tyler starts full time with us on February 5, and we're thrilled to have him on board!
INN Labs focuses on solving problems that we're uniquely suited to tackle at a network level, such as:
- Building open-source publishing tools to support newsrooms' editorial and business goals
- Providing custom web development, training, and resources to consulting clients
- Supporting 40+ member websites using Largo, an open source WordPress platform/framework that we design, build and maintain
As account manager for INN Labs, you’ll be building strong relationships with the expanding number of news organizations powered by WordPress. And you’ll be growing INN’s portfolio of news technology accounts.
INN Labs operates as a mission-driven social enterprise, providing subsidized news technology and open source publishing tools to news organizations as part of its mission to support and expand public service journalism.
You’ll own our customer relationships, making sure members and other clients are well-served, that they know how INN Labs can help them and understand the news products we build. You’ll grow the revenue stream from this work, which helps cover nonprofits’ costs and supports INN’s continued public service work. You’ll provide continual feedback and intelligence on customer needs to the product team.
The ideal candidate for this position is an outgoing professional who knows the technology needs of news organizations and can increase the scope and impact of INN’s design and development work. You’ll introduce INN Labs’ work to nonprofit and independent news startups and serve as client liaison for enterprise-level partners such as NPR, publishing groups, university innovation labs and other journalism initiatives.
Ultimately, you should be able to grow INN Labs' business and its mission impact by building successful, long-term partnerships from our membership base and beyond.
- Develop new business, identifying new opportunities to grow revenue and advance public service journalism
- Operate as the lead point of contact on member and client projects and develop strong mutual relationships
- Ensure the timely and successful delivery of our work to clients
- Contribute to project proposals, handle contract negotiations and manage the processes of contracting and project updates
Skills and Qualifications:
- Significant experience in account management and sales in an agency setting
- Proven ability to manage multiple accounts at a time with strict attention to detail
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills, experience with direct client interaction strongly preferred
- Experience explaining technical concepts to non-technical users
- Excellent listening, negotiation, and presentation skills
- An interest in mission-driven work and social enterprise
Nice to have:
- An understanding of the nonprofit news industry and publishing priorities
- Experience working remotely
- Experience working with WordPress
- Familiarity with best practices for web design and development, ideally in a news environment
We are a distributed team and this is a remote, salaried position with some benefits. Previous experience working remotely would be helpful but we'll do whatever we can to help and support your transition if this is your first remote job.
INN is an equal-opportunity employer, and we are committed to creating a workplace where diversity is valued. People of color, women, and members of other under-represented groups in journalism, media, and technology are strongly encouraged to apply. In addition to federal law requirements, INN complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.
We're looking for a front-end developer-slash-designer to join our team! In this role, you'll be the team's go-to design and CSS/JS expert, working on client projects and INN Labs tools like Largo and our publishing plugins. The job is full-time and fully remote!
As part of INN's support for the 2017 News Match campaign, we've released two WordPress plugins to help sites convert readers. News Match Donation Shortcode provides a donation form for your site to ease donations through the News Revenue Hub as part of the News Match campaign.
Prefer a video walkthrough? Watch this tutorial on youtube.
Installing the plugin
On your WordPress site, click on "Plugins" in the Dashboard menu. If you see an "Add New" button at the top of the page, click that.
If you don't see the "Add New" button or the "Plugins" menu, your user might not have permission to manage plugins on the site; you should contact your technical support and ask them to install News Match Donation Shortcode for you. Your site might require downloading the plugin ZIPs and uploading them via FTP instead of using WordPress' built-in plugin installation tools.
Configuring the plugin
The plugin's settings are at Settings > News Match Shortcode in the WordPress admin.
When you first enable the plugin, you'll want to configure it with your organization's name, your News Revenue Hub ID, the default donation amount, and the live and staging URLs of your News Revenue Hub form.
The settings is where you configure the donation levels to match your organization's membership levels. While the plugin comes with 4 default donation levels, you can easily define your own labels and donation levels. The defaults are: $0-$5 Friend, $5-$50 Ally, $50-$500 Champion, and $500+ Ambassador. If you want fewer donation levels, set the third level's upper donation amount to a very high amount, such as your org's dream budget, and make sure that the fourth level is more than that.
If you use Salesforce to track campaigns, you can set a default Salesforce campaign ID for the plugin in the plugin's settings. This can be overridden on a per-form basis by setting the
sf_campaign_id attribute of the shortcode, like so:
[newsmatch_donation_form sf_campaign_id="foo" amount="25"]
The shortcode in use
The default form of the shortcode uses buttons to select the donation level:
type="select" to the shortcode, it appears like this:
A full list of shortcode arguments and examples can be found in the plugin's WordPress.org entry, but they're basically one-off overrides for your Salesforce campaign ID, your default donation amount, and the type of form.
The above screenshots use the plugin's default styles with non-default configuration. You can style the donation form using your site's theme's CSS, Jetpack’s Custom CSS Editor, or any other tool that allows you to define custom styles on your site. Guidance for these custom styles can be found in the FAQ section of the plugin's WordPress.org entry.
If you have questions about this plugin and integrating it with your WordPress site, contact email@example.com.
If you have questions about the News Revenue Hub, visit their contact page.