Google partners with Automattic to support local news with Newspack

Google has announced a new initiative to help local news publications be more sustainable for their contributors. The Mountain View giant has partnered with Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, to launch Newspack, a set of tools to make online content management and presentation easier. Google has invested $1.2 million in its efforts to kickstart the platform, but funding has also come from a few other organizations, adding another million dollars to that amount.

Newspack is specifically aimed at small local news organizations, aiming to provide them with a cheap and easy-to-use platform that can be used to create and publish their content. Because these publications don't typically have a lot of resources, Newspack is meant to handle website design, CMS configuration, and other technical aspects, leaving editors with more time to focus on reporting.

Automattic's contribution means that customers can access all of the tools and plug-ins courtesy of Jetpack, the plug-in platform for WordPress publications. However, Newspack will offer a more tailored experience right of the bat, integrating best practices and eliminating unnecessary distractions, resulting in what Google calls "an opinionated CMS".

The platform will be improving over time, too, thanks to a partnership with Spirited Media and News Revenue Hub. The organizations will be looking at what features are most important to make for a successful publication and integrating them into Newspack.

Google has previously launched other initiatives to help news organizations in one way or another, including the Google News Initiative innovation funding to over 80 news organizations around the world. Newspack will start development in the coming weeks and is expected to be available later this year.

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