Justin Tadlock Joins WP Tavern

The kid scampered ahead of his classmates. He wanted to be one of the first to set foot in the building, but he stopped as he got to the first step. He looked up to count the floors. One, two, three…it wasn’t The Times. He was awestruck all the same. The Birmingham News.

Truth be told, the kid was a man grown in 2007, but he was still a kid at heart. His graduation was fast approaching. He’d soon leave The Plains, his home of Auburn, Alabama. He needed to get some experience at smaller, local papers before landing a job at The Birmingham News. He didn’t know it while standing on those steps, but before the day was out, he’d return home and start filling out applications for every small paper across the state.

His only real experience with newspapers outside of university was reading about J. Jonah Jameson and Peter Parker or following the exploits of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. He had this 1950s-esque picture in his mind of a cigar-smoking reporter wearing a cheap suit and fedora while pounding the keys of his typewriter. He’d be working toward a Pulitzer-winning story. Other reporters would sprint by his desk with their next big lead. The editor would yell orders across the room as everyone rushed to beat the deadline.

Reality didn’t exactly match the picture in his mind. The kid knew it wouldn’t. On those steps of the recently-built news office, he’d need to let go of the fantasy. He breathed deep and stepped forward at the instruction of his professor.

Field trips were a rare occurrence in college, but this professor was different. His classroom was merely a part of the learning process. Journalism was more than memorizing rules and writing a few papers each semester. The only way to understand journalism was to step foot into an office and observe.

That’s the day the kid’s life changed forever. He knew what he wanted to do after he graduated. He wanted to work at a small-town newspaper by day and pen the great Southern American novel by night.

The roads people travel are rarely the direct route they set out on.

A few months later, the kid was living in Atlanta, Georgia, and traveling to Home Depots across half the state as a vendor. During his summer in the Peach State, he got an opportunity to visit the CNN Center. It was a thing of beauty. With renewed vigor, he put in more applications at small papers. Either no one was hiring or he didn’t have the experience.

He applied for other jobs. Once he interviewed to be a used-car salesman. However, he landed a job teaching in South Korea. While imparting the few things he picked up about the English language to young minds, he began building his reputation in the WordPress community. Before leaving the country, he’d bootstrapped his own WordPress theme shop in 2008.

After 11 years, the kid stumbled upon an opportunity to join the staff at WP Tavern, a chance to combine his passion for WordPress and writing.

Now a new chapter in his life begins.

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

My name is Justin Tadlock. I’m the new staff writer for WP Tavern. It’s my hope that I can bring a different perspective and produce many engaging stories for you to read long into the future.

You’ve probably used at least a few lines of my code to run your web site. I’ve contributed to WordPress in some form or fashion since I started using the software in 2005. I formerly ran Theme Hybrid, which was one of the earliest and longest-running theme shops in the WordPress ecosystem. I also co-authored Professional WordPress Plugin Development.

Over the coming weeks and months, I plan to get to know more of you within the WordPress community. I’ve been an avid reader of WP Tavern since its inception. It’s always held a special place in my heart, and I want it to be an environment where everyone feels welcome to discuss all the things happening in the WordPress world.

It will take me a bit to get a feel for the new writing position and find my voice. I may have a few hit-or-miss stories out of the gates, but I’m always open to feedback and criticism from our readers. Ultimately, it’s my job to serve you the stories that you enjoy reading.

I’m stoked for the opportunity to get to know more of you. I want to help you share your stories. I want the community to know the people behind this platform that so many of us rely on in our personal and professional lives.

I hope I exceed your expectations for quality reporting and feature stories for WordPress. Stay tuned.


52 responses to “Justin Tadlock Joins WP Tavern”

  1. Hey Justin,

    This is fantastic news! I’m so happy for you.

    Like you, I’ve had a deep interest in journalism. I even worked at the Associated Press as a product manager and co-created the Reese Felts Digital Newsroom at UNC Chapel Hill to teach the next generation of journalism students the digital tools and techniques required for today’s news, including an intense focus on WordPress. It was there I founded WordPress Chapel Hill, which I ran for 7-years.

    If your passion is writing and journalism, then securing a position to write from experience about advancements in and the economy of WordPress is surely a great place to be. I’m hopeful WP Tavern focuses not just on the tech side, but also on the personalities behind some of the best tech in WordPress, as well as the economics of WordPress. I think WP Tavern fell a little short of connecting WordPress with opportunity and the business of WordPress – it’s there that needs some attention.

  2. Yes! This feels absolutely like the place you are supposed to be.

    I know a big piece of your heart is dedicated to the whole WP community and you will not just be telling us news – are going to be telling us stories that we remember for a long time.

    I look forward to seeing what the future brings here :D

  3. Amazing intro, and congratulations! I’m sure you’ll make a great team with Sarah! Looking forward to seeing your articles and I’m hoping that it will also bring new energy into the community here in WPTavern (with some friendlier and more supportive comments as well!)

    • Congrats Justin! I’ve used tons of your code and was a theme hybrid member. Just liked the way your brain worked.

      I remember years ago finding your “other” life as a writer. Hoping your deep commitment to WP continues to be rewarded.

      Looking forward to your unique perspective on all things WP and hopefully a few interesting diversions too. Nice to know the humans behind the code.

  4. What a surprise-move! But it makes sense. I have been impressed by the crystal clear way you write your documentation, your blog posts and book reviews.

    Congrats to you, the tavern and all readers :D

    Will you be traveling around as well? Hope to see you in Europe one day!

  5. Brilliant! I too have been a long time admirer of your code and posts about WordPress. As an WP instructor/trainer and user experience designer I always encouraged people to follow you. I remember your goals to be a write. Dreams do come true!


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