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Google, WordPress is developing a CMS for news

Newspapers had bruises 30 years ago. According to the Pew Research Center, US newspapers had 62.5 million daily readers in 1989 – mostly in print – but only 31 million in both print and digital subscribers.

Against this backdrop, newspaper publishers must balance the generation of news in both digital and printed form, in advertising management, and in the management of subscriptions and site visitors' systems. This is a complex technical landscape and news organizations have invested heavily. Even if a news organization is only digital, it costs Construction of the first web presence can be considerable – from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Visit Newspack, a new WordPress-based messaging CMS that helps small news organizations create highly functional websites and websites You can publish and monetize content, This new project, led by the Google News initiative, is also supported by Automattic, the company behind WordPress. the municipal newspaper network Civil Media; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. In total, the group invested $ 2.4 million in newspack.

Twelve news publishers are entering into a free development phase, where publishers can expect a monthly price of $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 blog entry Announcement of the new initiative. Applications for the development phase are currently under consideration. The list of participating publishers will be announced shortly, and they will start using Newspack in the coming weeks.

Whether new customer or existing customer, all tell us the same. You have to simplify the technology and do more with less. The newsrooms have been scaled down so they are easier to use and maintain.

Pete MarshVice President Marketing, Newscycle Solutions

To select the first development-stage publishers, Newspack turned to local news publisher Spirited Media and the News Revenue Hub, a nonprofit association that helps news publishers earn money through readership. According to Google's announcement, the platform will be available to publishers worldwide later in 2019.

Chris Krewson, Vice President of Strategy at Spirited Media, said they are involved in Newspack, in part because they have experience launching a rich, mobile news site.

"We initially raised $ 500,000 and spent about half of it adjusting WordPress," Krewson said.

He wanted Automate as many processes as possible In WordPress, they did not have to set an editor specifically for the homepage.

For Krewson, Newspack will make the production and publishing of content less of trial and error and give small local news organizations an opportunity in the marketplace.

The launch of Newspack may be a boon to the industry, said Ned May, vice president of analytical operations at Outsell Inc.

"I like the move, we are in the final stages of refocusing the news industry and, fortunately, have managed to re-emerge with new models of profitability, albeit less than in the past."

However, the inclusion of Google carries some risk.

"My only concern is the integrity of Google in this project," said May. "One could imagine that they create a dependency on the platform, only one day to give up the initiative or, worse, slow to stop and growth to promote."

This new initiative is promising, but there is still a large industry with many newspapers, from the big daily newspaper to the small weekly print and digital only newspapers. Many are still running on older, older CMS for messaging systems.

Older news publishers are facing the same problems as newer ones, said Pete Marsh, vice president of marketing for Newscycle Solutions – a private equity-funded company that provides software for news and media companies. Where Newspack serves new and emerging news organizations, Newscycle works with many of the largest US news companies, including The Wall Street Journal, Newsday and The Minneapolis Star Tribune,

With shrinking budgets over the last two decades, traditional news organizations have not had the resources to invest in new CMS for messaging systems. As a result, many live with outdated technology that is not always suitable for both print and online production.

"Whether they're new or existing customers, they all tell us the same thing – they need to simplify technology and do more with less – editors are downsized so they need things that are easier to use and maintain." Marsh said. "The elephant in the newsroom is that the subscriber's property is with newsroom staff, and the newsroom needs to know that it's creating content that is held by its current subscribers and increases revenue. "

To meet these needs, Newscycle has expanded its offering by taking over companies offering content management, advertising and analytics software. Last year, five acquisitions were made, including InfoMaker, which a WordPress-based content management system; and Marketing G2, which manages subscription management and analytics to facilitate reader engagement.

And the insights of the audience are critical. Editors need to be able to measure which articles are read and how much time readers spend on the site. The biggest substantive draw? Local news and events.

"The American Press Institute has just examined this with a survey of 3,500 people, the biggest finding being that people want information about local events and they want to support local news," Marsh said.

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