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Journalism and Newspack

WordPress.com is partnering with Google and news industry leaders on a new platform for small- and medium-sized publishers, called Newspack. The team has raised $2.4 million in first-year funding from the Google News Initiative, Lenfest Journalism Institute, Civil funder ConsenSys, and the Knight Foundation, among others. We’re also still happy to talk to and engage other funders who want to get involved — I’d love to put even more resources into this.

It’s been a difficult climate for the news business, particularly at the local level. It also breaks my heart how much of their limited resources these organizations still sink into closed-source or dead-end technology. Open source is clearly the future, and if we do this right Newspack can be the technology choice that lasts with them through the decades, and hopefully our 15 years of growth lends some credibility to our orientation to build things for the long term.

Here’s Kinsey in Nieman Lab:

The goal is to both make sure that the catalog of publishing tools as well as business tools they need to be able to run what one hopes is a sustainable news operation are addressed simultaneously. It’s not simply a CMS for a newsroom, but a full business system that enables publishing and monetization at the same time.

Nieman Lab interview

As you have come to expect from Automattic, everything will be open source and developed to the same standards WordPress itself is. We’re working with Spirited Media and the News Revenue Hub on the platform, and we will likely look for even more partnership opportunities from across the WordPress ecosystem. If you’d like to invest or get involved, drop us a line at newspack@automattic.com.

7 replies on “Journalism and Newspack”

Matt,
As someone who used to work in the newspaper CMS business this is interesting to hear. I’ve long thought that WordPress could support newspapers websites and if the newspaper could handle it technically feed their layout production (mostly InDesign but that’s probably in flux as well as Adobe Subscription fees are probably a bit steep for some papers; Bangor Maine has a tech person using WP to flow into InDesign…or did).
Just a few other random comments about the market that you are going into (I used to work for TownNews which will be one of the competitors to this product).

– Pricing might be a sticking point at $1000-$2000 (I think the ‘large’ package at TownNews starts at like $1500 a month (goes up with storage etc etc). If that can be offset with bringing in more advertising that might help sell…but….
– A lot of smaller newspapers don’t have staff that fully understand digital sales. There are some outstanding organizations that do and it’s changing all the time. I think this is an area, revenue, where a lot of time needs to be spent. I ran a newspaper website for about 7 years (after TownNews) and I thought we did an okay job at getting advertising on the site and on our best days we were making $5K a month. That’s maybe one full time job…
– Will this have a classified system (perhaps some new thought to that?). E-Edition? Most smaller papers are going to be looking for an all in one solution. Better if it can hook into their layout system.

I could probably go on and on with this as it’s something I’ve put a good amount of time thinking about. I don’t have a solution for it, but have some ideas. One of the biggest things I think is getting newspapers to evolve…and it’s happening but it’s slow going.

GDPR was a big concern for WordPress last year.
Using this wonderful tool, we are in contact with wordpress.org several times a day :
* browsing wordpress.org websites
* checking for new wordpress, themes, plugins updates
* under admin, ajax calls like “heartbeat” with its “has_focus” parameter
* loading things from s.w.org
and certainly much more.
So my question is this, does wordpress.org have a dpo (data protection officer) ?

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