The News Project founded by Merril Brown has launched its first customer site, CALmatters. CALmatters is a nonprofit journalism venture that covers politics, environmental regulation, education, and more.
The site sports a new design, a fresh logo, and was built using WordPress. The News Project describes itself as a “solution that integrates best-of-breed content, audience and revenue tools that a typical news venture would assemble separately at far greater cost in time, effort and dollars.”
Interestingly, Newspack, a vertical on WordPress.com and open-source plugin tailored to newsrooms and journalists is described in a similar fashion, “It’s a ready-to-go, intuitive, revenue-focused publishing platform that will let small and medium-sized newsrooms dedicate more resources to their journalism. Newspack will be simple to set up, easy to use, durable, flexible and fast.”
The descriptions and the services being offered are interesting because of what happened earlier this year. Back in January, WordPress.com secured $2.4M in funding from Google and other partners to build a publishing platform for news organizations. Around the same time, The News Project announced it received a six-figure investment from WordPress.com VIP which is essentially accomplishing the same thing.
I don’t understand why Automattic would invest in The News Project and then create a vertical on WordPress.com that solves the same problem. Since The News Project is already using WordPress to power the CMS and WordPress.com VIP to host their customers, perhaps the capital was more of an in-kind gift.
Regardless of the relationship between the two company’s, newsrooms and small-to-medium-sized publications are getting more options to consider when it comes to hosting and a CMS that’s highly tailored to the industry.