MVP award for the guy who made Thunderdome’s work easier

Recognition for this month’s Thunderdome MVP has been a long time coming. Let’s hear it for our technology strategist, Davis Shaver.

Davis spent a large part of 2013 developing Thunderdome’s in-house content management system (CMS), Mission Control.

Davis Shaver, Thunderdome technology strategist

He has it under control: Davis Shaver, Thunderdome technology strategist.

About Mission Control
Mission Control makes it possible for us to efficiently produce content and distribute to Digital First Media channels and websites. Davis also devised a way for us to automate story budgets and communication, freeing up staff hours previously spent managing Google Doc budgets and crafting advisory emails. Anyone on staff a year ago can assure you, this is a big deal.

About Davis’ nomination:
Thunderdome’s MVP is voted on each month by a panel of anonymous judges. Anyone can be nominated by anyone on staff. In my nomination for Davis, I wanted to remind staff how greatly his work has impacted our operation. The completion of Mission Control was a milestone for Thunderdome’s operation. The nomination:

“Guys, Davis Shaver made Mission Control. HE MADE A CMS FOR THUNDERDOME TO PUSH CONTENT TO ALL OF DFM’S ONLINE CMSs. The all-caps are necessary. And it afforded us the opportunity to ditch manually-produced Google Doc budgets and manually-penned advisories. Truly all-star work by Davis on conceiving this system and seeing it through to completion.”

Davis’ acceptance speech:

‘The real MVP here is WordPress. In addition to relying on the core software, we’ve tapped related open source solutions like EditFlow and Advanced Custom Fields to build a powerful editorial planning and production tool for the newsroom.

The best part about WordPress is that you’re not alone – we’ve benefitted from thoughts and practices shared by others at the intersection of WordPress and journalism through events hosted by the Online News Association and WordPress Big Media Meetup.

We’ll be posting more information about our setup in the coming months, so stay tuned.’

Also nominated:

A great deal of appreciation for video journalist David Freid this month, who was nominated twice. Sarah Glen wrote:

“From Firearms in the Family to our Jimmy Fallon parody, people are not taking enough time to consider all the work he puts in. He’s a great person to work with.”

The second nomination came from Yvonne Leow who wrote:

“David shot the entire video and coached our very much non-professional actors how to read the script and execute their parts. We thought we had nothing to work with, but David suggested we embrace the low production quality of the shoot and run with it. So we did. But really, he did. And we’re so glad he did. He edited all of our footage together, used his editing prowess to include a plethora of unplanned jokes and made the video what it is. Delightfully lo-fi with impeccable comedic timing. If that weren’t enough, David shared the video with his friend who knows Jimmy Fallon’s wife who said “it was too cute.” We’re 100% confident that’s why Fallon tweeted our video this morning. SUCCESS.”

Chris March (me), the third nominee, was nominated by Mandy Jenkins who wrote:

(Chris) has been a total MVP lately in working with the news and feature staffs on big live events like the Golden Globes, Grammys and State of the Union, including lots of late nights alongside those staffs. He’ll also soon be taking on a lot of work with the Olympics with Gary’s team.”

Chris March

By Chris March

Chris March is the community engagement manager for Digital First Media and the editor of Inside Thunderdome. Contact him by email at or follow his shenanigans on Twitter: @marchmcfly.

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