The parent company of WordPress.com, Automattic, announced plans for a new publishing platform for news, which will be a result of collaboration with Google. That said, Google will work with WordPress to release a new publishing platform, which will allow smaller to medium publications to get more revenue from their content.
The app will be called Newspack by WordPress.com and will be launched as part of a partnership with News Revenue Hub and Spirited Media. Aside from Google, which funded pretty much half of the funds necessary for the new publishing platform, other backers include Lenfest Institute for Journalism ($400,000), ConsenSys ($350,000), as well as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation ($250,000).
The current funding will support this innovative collaboration to see the project through its first years of operations. WordPress is an extremely popular text editor which can be used for making websites and publishing blog content. According to a survey on W3Techs, WordPress powers at least 30% of websites.
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Newspack, however, is supposed to target smaller news outlets which have trouble with the complexity of technology, maintenance, development and hosting, it said in the press release. That said, the new publishing platform for news should be more intuitive to users and help them avoid problems with the mentioned issues.
“Local news organizations are struggling to find sustainable models for journalism — a crisis that has very real implications for democracy,” WordPress.com president Kinsey Wilson said in a press release. “We’re joining with industry leaders to bring technology, publishing, and business expertise together in a single platform that can be shared by news organizations across the globe.”
Since the Newspack platform is still in development and it likely won’t launch until July 2019, at that time it will be used by several websites as part of the beta program. However, publications that want to apply to use it can do so from now until February 1. Automattic, however, noted that the news outlets which have already tried “editorial and financial success” in their markets will be more prioritized.
Nevertheless, not many details have been disclosed about how the new publishing platform for news will work, although Automattic promises that the platform will be a combination of “the best editorial and business practices.”
It is expected that the development time of the app will be going on through Jan. 2020, and from then, the platform will be available to about 60 news publication websites. The prelaunch phase is covered by Automattic, Google and other collaborators, and once that period expires, the news publications will likely have to pay somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 per month.
“Our hope with Newspack is to give [publications] a platform where they can continue to focus on what they do best, while we focus on providing world-class technology and support across their editorial and business operations,” Automattic editor Mark Armstrong was quoted on WordPress.com.