Google leads funding on WordPress.com news platform

Newspack platform developed by WordPress.com parent company Automattic and designed to support local news organizations

15Jan

WordPress.com has announced funding for a new publishing platform, Newspack, which will be aimed at small- and medium-sized news organizations.

Through WordPress.com and its enterprise service WordPress.com VIP, Newspack will attempt to support the work of local news organizations, many of which have struggled to find sustainable models for journalism in the online era.

WordPress.com already hosts numerous well-respected and widely-read news outlets including Time.com, CNN and FiveThirtyEight.

Through its Google News Initiative, Google has committed $1.2m to the platform. Google has been joined by three other backers: The Lenfest Institute for Journalism which has pledged $400,000; ConsenSys which has committed $350,000; and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation which has said it will provide $250,000 to the project. WordPress.com said one more source, set to contribute $200,000, would be expected to contribute later this month.

In a blog post, Mark Armstrong, founder of Longreads and part of the editorial team of Automattic and WordPress.com, said: "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."

WordPress.com's parent company Automattic has partnered with a number of existing news organizations to develop the Newspack platform including US-based Spirited Media and News Revenue Hub.

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