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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