Tagged: blogs

Why I got into journalism

Hint: at the time it probably had something to do with telling stories.

This comes to mind as I spent the week moving the paper’s blogs from the LifeType platform to WordPress Multiple User (WPMU) the same platform that powers wordpress.com. The project was a whole lot of fun as we had to figure a way to export all of the users, posts and comments from 20 blogs. Did I mention that LifeType does not include a simple export feature?  In the end we found a sample script that sort of worked and had a freelance developer customize it to go Lifetype-to-WPMU. It still involved a fair amount of exporting and importing SQL files, but the heavy lifting was all scripted as part of the WordPress import feature.

The nail in the coffin on the project was trying to redirect the correct URLs for every blog and post from old to new. Considering that our Lifetype setup was fond of underscores and SEO and WP dictate that hyphens are preferred, some mod_rewrite was called for.

Not being a developer and not knowing much about mod_rewrite – it took me about 12 hours to finally find a combination that worked. So – this is why I am in journalism now – finding solutions, learning new things, and telling stories.

Here is the code – it is the “good enough” solution. But, any programmer would probably tell you it could have been solved in about half the lines:

# Rewrite old permalinks to new location
# FROM: /web_notes/2008/07/28/more_on_comments/
# TO: /webnotes/2008/07/28/more-on-comments/
RewriteRule (.*)/(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)$ http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/$1/$2-$3-$4-$5-$6-$7-$8-$9 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule (.*)/(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)$ http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/$1/$2-$3-$4-$5-$6-$7-$8 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule (.*)/(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)$ http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/$1/$2-$3-$4-$5-$6-$7 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule (.*)/(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)$ http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/$1/$2-$3-$4-$5-$6 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule (.*)/(.*)_(.*)_(.*)_(.*)$ http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/$1/$2-$3-$4-$5 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule (.*)/(.*)_(.*)_(.*)$ http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/$1/$2-$3-$4 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule (.*)/(.*)_(.*)$ http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/$1/$2-$3 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^(((.*)_(.*))(?!wp-b))/(dddd/dd/dd)/(.*)   http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/$3$4/$5/$6 [R=301,L]
RewriteRule ^(((.*)_(.*))(?!wp-b))/ http://blogs.nashuatelegraph.com/$3$4/ [R=301,L]

Stupid is as stupid does

Why Newspapers shouldn’t allow comments

In which the writer pulls memorable comments from the NYT site such as this as proof of her thesis:

“if he wasn’t a reporter for the new york times, would we be reading this?”

“Monetizing your shameful past is disgusting. Haven’t you harmed your loved ones enough for one lifetime?”

I totally agree. Newspapers are allowing far too much conversation. And though only 5% of it is trash – that outweighs the other 95%. In fact – on that basis I now believe that because of this one ill-informed column newspapers (and Web sites) should not allow columnists. It just isn’t worth it!

One More Thing

Just finished the blogroll at the bottom of the page. Looks simple, it wasn’t.

I am really bored with static lists of blogs. Tough to tell what is worth clicking on if you are not already familiar with the writers.

So – to put this together – I exported an OPML file out of Flock (same one I use in Google Reader) containing 30 or 40 journalism bloggers. Then – I filtered the whole thing through Yahoo Pipes. This let me narrow each individual blogger to one latest entry each, sort by pub date and generally mix and match the needed fields.

After dropping it back into WP – I now have a dynamically generated blogroll that is ordered by latest post and when you hover over each name – provides the title of their latest post. Clicking takes you to the post, not to their front page.

Not bad for only 4:22 a.m.