WordPress.com Partners with Google, ConsenSys-backed Civil and Others to Release “NewsPack” for Startups


WordPress.com parent company Automattic Inc, and its partners Spirited Media and News Revenue Hub announce a new partnership with Google and Google News Initiative along with other companies like Civil Media (backed by ConsenSys) to release a new platform for digital news startups. The partners will be investing $2.4 million in the Newspack platform. It will be incorporating the best editorial and business practices from the industry. The information was unveiled in a press release on January 14 by WordPress.com.

These leaders in the technological field will be working together to create open-source publishing and revenue-platform for news organizations. One of the main intentions to create this platform is to address the obstacles related to creating an economically sustainable model for journalism.

The first year of the project already has $2.4 million in funding that will be developed on WordPress.com’s cloud-based platform. One of the main backers is Google through the Google News Initiative, committing $1.2 million. There are other founders such as The Lenfest Institute for Journalism giving $400,000, ConsenSys with $350,00 and other firms such as The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, among others.

Some small startups struggle with maintenance, hosting and security issues, something that can be an obstacle to revenue generation. Additionally, there is no cost-effective solution that allows best-in-class tools to be easily shared among news concerns.

With this platform, small digital publishers will get into the platform quickly and have an affordable system that will be incorporating the best practices in the industry. The intention is to launch the platform and accept a dozen news-sites by mid-2019 and expand to other sites in 2020.

Kinsey Wilson, the President of WordPress.com, commented:

“Local news organizations are struggling to find sustainable models for journalism — a crisis that has very real implications for democracy. 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.”

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism will be a sponsor of the project that will be managing the grant funding process and reporting how the project moves forward. At the same time, they will also provide guidance and expertise about the business needs of local newsrooms and more.

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