Hi! I’m Cheri.
I work at Automattic, a fully distributed tech company known for its contributions to the WordPress project and the open web. I’m currently a story wrangler at WordPress.com, our flagship product, and a senior editor at Longreads, our National Magazine Award-winning publication. I do lots of different things — editing, writing, brand and customer storytelling, content curation and management, social media, and community engagement, to name a few.
My background includes online travel writing (which is how I met my husband!); reporting on local news and writing entertainment reviews for daily and weekly newspapers on the San Francisco Peninsula; proofreading for a marketing department at a women’s college in Oakland; working for George Lucas’ now-defunct education magazine at Skywalker Ranch; and teaching in K-12 classrooms in the U.S. and Thailand. I also love taking photos, especially while looking for street art, wandering new cities, and exploring the outdoors.
I have a BA in screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University and an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College. I haven’t had as much time as I’d like for personal writing in the past decade, but you can browse writing in my blog’s archives, some of which has been featured in the New York Times, the Atlantic, and the Verge, and more.
I’m a versatile writer and editor with 20 years of print and web experience and a background in blogging and website building, journalism, and K-12 education. Here’s a glimpse into some of my work.
There’s a lot to explore here! If you’re pressed for time, consider these examples:
- a quick guide for educators and parents on using your TV to spark discussions on storytelling (writing)
- a resource that offers interactive ways for kids to learn about historical events, people, and places (writing)
- an interview with a writer who blogs about raising a gender-creative child (writing)
- a reading list celebrating Roald Dahl, 100 years since his birth (curation)
- an investigative feature on undocumented farmworkers in the Coachella Valley (editing)
- an illustrated personal essay on tea, traveling, and the search for home (editing)
Reporting on education topics and writing resources for parents and educators.
As a former writer for education publications, I shared stories of project-based learning and early innovation at the intersection of K-12 education and tech. I was drawn to writing resources on media and digital literacy and finding ways to blend education and entertainment. These clips are older, but they’re relevant examples of conversational writing targeted to parents and teachers.
- Read Your Television: a quick guide on how to use your TV as a tool for learning
- Boost Memory and Learning with Music: tips from two educators on how to use music to make learning more sensory
- How to Breathe Life Into History: a how-to that offers hands-on ways for students to learn about historical events, people, and places
- Junior Clicks: a comparison of kid-friendly search engines
- Pod People: a look at how teachers were finding fresh, new ways to incorporate iPods into their lessons
- Art for the Ears: a quick spotlight on the audio tours at PS1, produced by high school students in New Jersey
Writing features and curating stories that celebrate diversity and inclusion.
As a story wrangler at WordPress.com, I amplify the work of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC creators and curate writing that provokes thought and drives change. I also conceptualize and execute content campaigns on our editorial and social channels to promote the DEI efforts of our company.
- Writer and Activist Sam Dylan Finch on Being Vulnerable, Creating a Supportive Space, and Going Viral: an interview with a trans writer on mental health and blogging
- Draw The Line: Bringing Comic Artists Together to Effect Positive Political Change: an interview with a UK illustrator who founded a comics site that offers practical ways for people to take positive political and social action
- Celebrating Pride at Automattic: “In a World That Wants You to Apologize or Minimize Who You Are, Don’t.”: a Pride Month interview with a colleague exploring identity, trust and communication in a distributed workplace, and being your authentic self
- On Injustice, Inequality, and Being Black in America: A Reading List: reading recommendations to better understand systemic racism in the U.S.
Writing about books and promoting authors.
Over the years, I’ve reviewed various types of media — from movies to plays to museum exhibitions — but ultimately gravitate to books, and in the past have reviewed primarily new nonfiction. More recently, in my work with bloggers and digital storytellers, I’ve showcased writers with unique blog-to-book journeys and curated a lot of reading material packaged around storytelling, diverse voices, and both emerging and established authors.
- Raising a Rainbow: An Interview with Author Lori Duron: a Q&A with a parenting blogger who writes about raising a gender-nonconforming son
- Where Food and History Meet: Michael W. Twitty’s Culinary Journey at Afroculinaria: an interview with The Cooking Gene author on identity cooking, culinary justice, and blogging versus writing a book
- Fairy Tales, Reimagined: A New Series from Jerry Mahoney: an interview with the author of Mommy Man about his modern series of fairy tales for children
- Roald Dahl at 100: A Reading List: a curated list from 2016 of seven stories about Dahl, marking 100 years since his birth
Commissioning and editing longform nonfiction.
As a senior editor at Longreads, I commission, edit, and produce original narrative nonfiction — personal and reported essays, illustrated features, investigative features — as well as reading lists, author interviews, and book excerpts. Some writers I’ve worked with have published books based on their Longreads stories or have secured representation, and an essay I edited in 2019 recently won a National Magazine Award. I’m interested in stories about unconventional lifestyles, marginalized communities, or fresh takes on a topic.
- Coachella, Underground: a reported feature on how the Latino communities in California’s Coachella Valley have adjusted to a life of fear and uncertainty under the Trump administration
- The God Phone: a reported essay on one of the oldest art installations at Burning Man
- Chasing the Harvest: ‘If You Want to Die, Stay at the Ranch’: an oral history of the challenges and dangers a migrant farmworker faced while tending sheep in California
- California Burning: a personal essay on home, belonging, and the Camp Fire in Paradise, the deadliest and most destructive fire in California’s history to date
- Baring the Bones of the Lost Country: The Last Paleontologist in Venezuela: a profile on the last vertebrate paleontologist in crisis-ridden Venezuela
- Cut From the Same Cloth: an illustrated essay on mothers and daughters, fashion, and aging and maternal envy
Reviewing books, films, and local theater productions.
I’m not able to link to digital versions of my Book Beat columns and arts and entertainment reviews at the San Mateo Daily Journal, due to a paywalled archive. However, here are the 13 awards I won during my time as the newspaper’s book critic and entertainment writer.
- 2010: Second Place, Entertainment Review: Book Beat, The Ramen King and I
- 2009: Second Place, Entertainment Review: “Print Is Dead”
- 2008: First Place, Entertainment Review: “Book Beat, October 19, 2007” and Second Place, Entertainment Review: “Book Beat, November 23, 2007”
- 2007: First Place, Entertainment Review: “Trend Spotting” and First Place, Specialty Story: “Canadians Party Like It’s a Summer Job”
- 2006: First Place, Entertainment Review: “Trend Spotting” and Second Place, Technology Story: “Pod People”
- 2005: First Place, Specialty Story: “My Favorite Movie is Steak”
- 2004: First Place, Entertainment Review: “The Evolution of Creating a Master Race” and Third Place, Entertainment Review: “Extremists Exist in All Religions”
- 2003: First Place, Entertainment Review: “Are We Approaching the End of Days?” and Second Place, Entertainment Review: “Just What is Real These Days?”
Cheri Lucas has written book reviews for the Daily Journal for more than five years. Her writing style and level of expertise is superb. She is a self-starter with a high level of independence, creativity and skill and has been a true asset to our publication from day one. I am thrilled to receive her submissions and to include them in our newspaper.
Jon Mays, Editor-in-Chief at the San Mateo Daily Journal (2009)
Cheri is truly one-of-a-kind! She currently edits, proofs, and provides quality control to a high volume of print and online publications that the College produces. She manages our editorial style guide, stays up on all the rules and their application to Mills, and is our go-to person for editing a variety of materials from catalogs to press releases to promotional brochures to web pages. Cheri is 100% reliable, a dedicated worker who just focuses on getting whatever job done without any drama, and is completely responsive to whatever we need. She moves in and out of every project with quiet efficiency while completing a mountain of work! I highly recommend her!
Judy Silva, Associate Vice President of Marketing at Mills College (2011)
Cheri is a rare find: a creative thinker with quiet competence. She’s an excellent editor and a hardworking, solid writer with a unique voice and perspective. During her time with Trazzler, our needs were constantly evolving and she was always able to roll with the changes and take on new tasks. She managed our social media presence on Twitter and Facebook, while also providing editorial support, writing and editing articles and blog entries. I would highly recommend her for any of these positions.
Megan Cytron, former Executive Editor at Trazzler.com (2011)