The Google News Initiative has partnered with Automattic/WordPress and invested $1.2 million in its effort to create Newspack: a low-cost publishing system tailor-made to the needs of small newsrooms.
Other funders include the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Civil Media collectively contributing another $1 million.
"Journalists should be writing stories and covering their communities, not worrying about designing websites, configuring CMSs, or building commerce systems, "said Jim Albrecht Product Management Director, Google Search. "Their publishing platform should solve these problems for them. So while Newspack publishers will have access to all the plugins created by the WordPress developer community, the core product is not trying to be all things to all publishers. It is trying to help small publishers succeed by building best practices into the product while removing distractions that may divert scarce resources," he added.
Automattic will be working in partnership with Spirited Media and News Revenue Hub to better understand the features and capabilities that contribute to publisher success and to measure the business impact of those features. Google will also be advising on the Newspack feature set, based on feedback from contact with local publishers, and provide technical support on the integration of Google products.
Newspack will begin development in the coming weeks, and will be made available to publishers globally later in the year.