The first ever WordCamp for Publishers will be held August 17-19 in Denver, Colorado. The niche WordCamp will be open to anyone who uses WordPress to manage a publication, no matter what size. Organizers submitted an application last November and received approval from WordCamp Central in February.
In previous planning stages, the event was going to be called “WordCamp for Journalists,” but WordCamp for Publishers is more inclusive of the different types of professionals who are involved in managing publications. Organizers are planning to have tracks with content for engineering, product, and editorial teams. Attendees will work together to collaborate on open source tools for publishers and best practices.
Steph Yiu and Adam Schweigert are the lead organizers of the event. Schweigert used to run engineering at the Institute of Nonprofit News and also led a working group assembled by MIT and the Knight Foundation on CMS-related projects. Yiu was a part of that working group and most of the other 12 organizers came out of it. Others were found through a call for volunteers.
“As a part of the working group we decided we wanted to pull together an event that was focused on WordPress, specifically helping improve the open source tools around publishing, and build a community around publishers that use WordPress,” Yiu said. “One thing that was very important to us was being able to reach smaller publishers, which is why, as part of the event, we are hoping to offer travel scholarships for folks who otherwise would not be able to attend.”
After discussing a few different event types, Yiu said the team eventually settled on setting it up as a WordCamp because of the community and structure that WordCamp Central provides. However, unlike most WordCamps, the event will offer a mix of presentations and hands-on workshops. Organizers will soon open a call for both speakers and workshop facilitators.
“It’s still early days for us since this is a first-time event,” Yiu said. “Our current goal is to have a mix of workshops aimed at people who contribute to the multiple areas of the publishing process (for example: developers, designers, product owners, and editorial staff) and multiple skill levels. We also hope to bring together people who maintain open source projects important to publishing to run workshops on both using and contributing with the goal of helping build up those projects for the long run.”
WordCamp for Publishers will be held at The Denver Post, a publication that runs on WordPress as a WordPress.com VIP customer.
“Mateo Leyba, who works at Digital First Media, was a part of the original working group and suggested they could sponsor with a venue donation,” Yiu said. “That was very welcome as venues are usually the most expensive part of any event! Also, it’s a cool spot with a beautiful view.”
The call for speakers and workshop leaders will open soon and will close in early May. Tickets for the event will be $40 and will go on sale in May. As it’s the first event of its kind, the organizers are keeping it small and are limiting it to 230 attendees. If you’re thinking about sponsoring or attending, sign up for email updates on the WordCamp for Publishers website.
I’d like to congratulate the organizers of this WordCamp. As a publisher myself, I did start to use WordPress because it is an awesome tool for publishing online and has a low entry point for new users.
What I don’t understand is why there are so strict rules about WordCamps being local events – as in city events –, which eventually led to a major european WordCamp being refused because it was called WordCamp Nederlands, and now there’s a WordCamp for Publishers. Clearly unfair to an organization with a history of organizing events and knowing its country and culture, as opposed to a centralistic structure that wants to impose a way of doing and understanding things.
I’m very disappointed, ashamed really, as this is absolutely the opposite of WordPress’ flexibility and openness. The same openness that understands the interest and even the need to have a themed WordCamp.