Google is partnering with Automattic/WordPress to develop a low-cost system specifically designed for publishing local news.
In an announcement, Google says it has invested 1.2 million into creating the Newspack platform.
Development on Newspack begins in the coming weeks and will be available to publishers worldwide later this year.
Newspack is being developed in an effort to help journalists do more of what they do best – covering news.
“Journalists should be writing stories and covering their communities, not worrying about designing websites, configuring CMSs, or building commerce systems. Their publishing platform should solve these problems for them.”
Publishers on Newspack will have access to all plugins created by the WordPress developer community.
However, Newspack is not being designed to satisfy the needs of all publishers.
It’s specifically created to help small publishers write more stories while also adhering to Google’s best practices.
“It is trying to help small publishers succeed by building best practices into the product while removing distractions that may divert scarce resources. We like to call it “an opinionated CMS:” it knows the right thing to do, even when you don’t.”
To better help publishers succeed, Automattic will be working with Spirited Media and News Revenue Hub.
They will work together to better understand what contributes to publisher success and measure the business impact of features and capabilities offered by Newspack.
Google’s role is to advise on the Newspack feature set, based on feedback from local publishers, and providing technical support on the integration of Google products.
Newspack is also receiving funding from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Civil Media collectively contributing another $1 million.