With many local news organizations struggling to find sustainable models for journalism, we’re seeing a need for an inexpensive platform that provides the technology and support that lets news organizations build their businesses and focus on what they do best — providing critical reporting for their communities. Our hope with Newspack is to give them 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.
As WordPress.com shared, a consortium of organizations are backing the project, with WordPress.com contributing the development efforts.
Google, through the Google News Initiative, is taking the lead in backing the project and has committed $1.2 million. Other funders include The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which is contributing $400,000; ConsenSys, the venture studio backing Civil Media, which is contributing $350,000; and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which is contributing $250,000. An additional $200,000 from a fifth source is expected to be contributed toward the project later this month.
When I first saw the news I wondered how Newspack could impact and/or serve LexBlog and law firms who are blogging. Good law bloggers are the equal of journalists, often doing a far superior job of reporting than the reporters with news organizations.
But looking at how WordPress.com is positioning Newspack for news organizations with a history of editorial and financial success in their markets, Newspack appears to be for publishers focused on traditional news organization revenue – ads and subscriptions.
Google which contributed over a million dollars knows one thing as a good as anyone – advertising and how to sell advertising.
On the publishing platform side, there’s no better platform, long term, for news organizations than WordPress. WordPress already powers 70% of all sites with a content management solution (CMS). WordPress.com hosts some of the most trusted names in journalism — from Time.com and CNN to FiveThirtyEight and Quartz, as well as individual sites for reporters.
News organizations no question need the help on their opex (operating expenditures) and revenue.
Getting on a publishing platform that’s better than the one they are using without heavy tech support expense and that’s hosted elsewhere by professionals can save a lot of money. Built in subscription and advertising tools can decrease expense and potentially increase revenues.
And who knows, maybe Google looks to strengthen the play on Google News of news organizations on Newspack.
No telling the uptake that Newspack will have, but WordPress and Google are formidable players with an interest in supporting news organizations and journalism.
For law firms, Newspack is not the right fit – unless you are looking to become a news organization generating revenues other than through the delivery of legal services.