Andrew Telegin is an online editor for the Independent, the Clark College student newspaper.
Q: Do you like WordPress?
A: Yes, I really do enjoy WordPress. I think it is easy to use and fun to figure out with cool features. It has been an adventure, too.
Q: The Good and the Bad about WordPress?
A: To me, the good is how is it easy for someone new to catch on, learn, and use. I’m using WordPress.com in class and the bad is that you there is less customization of the back end and dashboard. All you can change is the colors and I would like to switch around some of the functions so they are not on the side bar and I cannot do that on WordPress.com but I can with the self-hosted version of WordPress, and we are using that on the college site.
While most of WordPress is easy-to-use and semi-intuitive, I really want to learn HTML and some basic web code to know more about how all these things work. While I’m not ready to dive fully into web programming, I know the brush with the code will help me in the future. We are into the web forever and I’m riding the wave.
Q: Have you worked with any other Content Management Software? What’s different?
A: I have briefly worked with SquareSpace and I do not recommend it. The menu’s are very confusing. I may have problems with learning WordPress, but it was worse there. Still, it is important to experiment with the variety of options we have out there.
Q: Have you had problems with the Independent using WordPress?
A: Our first online editor for the student magazine edited the original theme without creating a Child Theme leading us to endless problems. In the WordPress class here at Clark, I’m learning how important that is, protecting our modifications on an existing WordPress Theme so we can continue to update the Parent Theme to stay safe and keep updated with new features and functionality.
This was one of the reasons the student magazine site was hacked. That was not fun. I cannot recommend enough how important it is to first, keep WordPress and its Plugins and Themes updated, and second, if you are working on a multiple contributor site with ever-changing managers and editors, get a manual. We are working on an instruction guide for the site now, too long after we needed one.
It’s important to create continuity when such a site passes through many hands as it does here at Clark College, each quarter and year bringing in new students to work on the site.
Q: Does the Independent work well with multiple editors?
A: It does. I am the main one right now and a new one is coming in soon to take my place. Such is the way of a college paper. The biggest hassle is that contributors sometimes have problems uploading and laying out their content, which is why the WordPress CTEC 160 class was important for me to take. I learned so much about the basics of content structure, layout, and organization, and I can’t wait to apply this to the student site.
Running a multiple contributor site means managing many people all focused on different tasks and bringing different skills to the paper. We have writers, researchers, photographers, editors…all the jobs found at a typical newspaper or magazine. Each issue is a full production as we work both on the web and print versions at the same time.
We can easily update the web content as things shift and change, but the production of the print magazine is hard. Everything has to be checked and verified because once in print…so I love the flexibility of the website. Much easier to work with.
Keeping track of everything going on it hard work. With WordPress, it’s easy for the contributors to save their work as pending for me and others to review before publishing. Using the Jetpack WordPress Plugin’s feedback feature, they can quickly email me a note from the post to alert me the article needs review and input. It helps us to keep track of what’s going on.
There are several other WordPress Plugins we are using and considering adding to the site now that I’ve completed the WordPress CTEC 160 class that should help us even more. There is an editorial calendar WordPress Plugin that will help us keep track of deadlines and publishing schedules, monitoring deadlines, and other Plugins that might help us keep the process more on track and efficient. I’m always learning and trying new things to make our work easier, and WordPress helps with all of that.
Q: Do you plan on using different WordPress sites in the future?
A: I plan on doing some freelance web design work soon and managing my own blog. I love writing. I still have a lot of school left, so that it taking all my attention right now, but I’m on a path and I love bringing everything I’ve learned about WordPress forward with me in the future.
I’ve realized that no matter where my studies and career takes me, I will use what I’ve learned about WordPress, here in class as well as on the newspaper. Whether I become a journalist or business executive, I will be working with the web and publishing on the web. I now feel confident that I can tackle just about anything that comes up with school and work and the web.
Q: Plans after WordPress Class?
A: I plan on going to college and doing web design as a hobby or maybe as a source of income eventually. Learning WordPress and web publishing is a skill that will go forward with me forever.