The word amongst web developers of my acquaintance is that the classic mistake made by neophyte site-owners is to do all the work themselves, in order to save money.
You see, WordPress is open source; there's no charge for the code itself. However, much like the Red Hat Linux business model, there are people and organisations that specialise in adapting the software installation to your specific needs. Of course, as well as having some experience doing this work, these people cost money.
I'm sure the IT folks at Salon are technically competent: that's very likely not the issue here.
This is about a false economy, "saving" money from a highly visible business project budget by pushing the costs into IT, and/or onto the customers.
The consequence is a gross under-estimation of the complexity of the new software, and the associated learning curve that has to be negotiated before the in-house IT folks are sufficiently up to speed to deliver all the promised benefits.
Those benefits typically don't come "out of the box" but in the form of plug-ins, add-ons, and other features that have to be customised, tweaked, and cajoled into operation. That remains true, typically, no matter what software product we're talking about.
None of this inference, speculation, and guesswork does anything to improve matters, however, and nor is it intended as any kind of defence of Salon on this point.
I've had recent communication with a Salon staffer who was very frank about the issues facing them. I've more or less begged them to plead in turn with their management, to get them to talk to us about this.
As always, I'll keep you posted.
But Dont Hold Your Breath, ok?