For small, local and specialized media, having good publishing tools (and adapted to their needs) as content managers (CMS) is often a technical headache and an expense that they can not afford. Google has proposed to support them through an alliance with Automattic, WordPress developers, a platform on which 30% of the world’s websites are based, according to Google.
Through the Google News Initiative (GNI) program, the Mountain View company will invest $ 1.2 million to create Newspack, a “fast, secure, low-cost publication system developed for the needs of small media.” Other organizations that will finance the project with an additional million dollars will be the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Civil Media.
Newspack: that small media focuses on what matters
Newspack will be a set of tools developed by Automattic, which as a WordPress developer knows the needs of the different kinds of publications. In this case, the initiative of Google wants to promote that small can focus on creating content, that is, in the editorial work, without worrying about the technical part. In many cases, these media have expensive systems, but very outdated.
Another important part of Newspack will be the search for revenue for the media as a goal, through the provision of payment gateway tools that propitiate trade and generate income with, for example, payment walls. To date, achieving a sustainable business model is one of the most difficult steps for publications.
Newspack will arrive to favor the sustainability and ease of publishing small media, but solving that equation is not easy
A renewal of the systems is not always easy, especially taking into account the crisis that the sector has been experiencing for years. Google is not the only one that wants to support this type of media, and for example, the case of Facebook is very famous, which for 2018 also wanted to focus on what was closest to its users (with somewhat erroneous assumptions), the local media .
Beyond the money, the fact that the CMS are not updated makes writing a news, which should be something very comfortable and direct, becomes a real nightmare for many. According to Automattic account, Newspack will be an open source platform, and want to have small and medium means for development, which should help to know better what product to create and for whom to do it. The deadline to apply to join the program ends on the first day of February.
After the development, Newspack will not be free
From Automattic, they assure that by July 2019 the platform will be launched in beta phase. The development will finish in January of 2020, and will be covered by the WordPress company with the amounts contributed by Google and the other organizations. After that period, the costs of Newspack, which will be compatible with the WordPress plugins, will be between 1,000 and 2,000 dollars.
Among the requirements (or characteristics that give preference) to be in the development group is to have a clear editorial and business focus for the growth of the site, to have a design that adapts to the needs of the news, to be already using WordPress or have a history and budget that allows estimating a forecast to continue at least 12 months.
Also published on Medium.