Global Press is a Group of WordPress-Powered News Bureaus

Global Press has an interesting and very different business model from anything else we’ve covered here at KinshiPress.

Yes, they are WordPress-powered and innovative. But rather than being a traditional publisher, they are building independent news bureaus. Each bureau is staffed by local, women reporters, in some of the world’s least-covered places. They have journalists in places such as Mongolia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Global Press supports the journalists by giving them access to editors, fact-checkers, translators, style guides, and more. The goal is to provide stories from people in the impacted communities, rather than “parachute journalists”. This image below shows an example of the team involved in one story about Uganda:

Global Press accuracy check

Global Press has been around for over 15 years and now works with dozens of reporters. You can read their journalism at GlobalPressJournal.com. Stories are published on the Global Press Journal website in both the reporter’s local language and English. Local language versions are distributed by more than a hundred partners. English translations, meanwhile, are published by partners like Quartz and the BBC. You can seen an example of the multilingual approach on this story about Puerto Rico.

Global Press in English and Spanish

The Emerson Collective has a deep dive on the Global Press that’s well worth your time (Emerson Collective is one of the top funding sources for local newsrooms).

Global Press Journal frontpage

Pluribus News is a WordPress-Powered Journalism Start-up

Pluribus News is a new start-up which is aiming to cover every state government across the United States.

Pluribus launches with 6 staff members. The founder Reid Wilson worked at The Washington Post and The Hill newspaper. The other staff also join from The Hill and other papers in Washington DC.

The initial plan is to cover economic, infrastructure, health care, and energy and environmental policy and possibly expand in the future into education and housing coverage.

Pluribus is WordPress-based and appears to be similar to the sites in the non-profit States Newsroom network whose sites also run on WordPress and cover state governments. But Wilson does have a commercial business model. He plans to sell advertisements in Pluribus’ free daily newsletter. The company also plans to introduce a paywall in January. And they plan to tap into lobbying spending, which has soared in states. They are perhaps more similar to FloridaPolitics.com which is also run a business.

Pluribus News homepage

Show Author Bios for Your WordPress Stories With PublishPress Authors

One of the things we talk about often at KinshiPress is transparency. Good journalism requires building a kinship between yourself and your audience. In most situations, if you want people to trust your publication, you need to include information about your authors.

PublishPress Authors is a WordPress plugin that makes it simple to show details of your authors. With this plugin, you can create a biography for each other. You can add multiple authors in one post. You can also create guest author who don’t need a login for your site.

As soon as you install PublishPress Authors, you’ll see an author box under every post. You can add all the profile details you need for each author. You can easily modify the design using a visual builder that looks like this screenshot below.

Continue reading “Show Author Bios for Your WordPress Stories With PublishPress Authors”

WordPress Developer Buys Local Newspaper in Indiana

Chris Hardie is a software engineer with a deep interest in journalism. Chris worked for Automattic for five years and recently completed a master’s degree in journalism.

Last week, Chris combined these two passions by acquiring Western Wayne News in Wayne County, Indiana. The paper has a WordPress site and a weekly printed edition. It covers the spectrum of local news, including events, sports, government meetings, and business.

You can read Chris’ post about the purchase here. One section of his post jumped out at me because it summed up what we’ve been talking about here at KinshiPress:

Um, you know newspapers are dying, right? The newspaper industry is changing to be sure, and communities across the U.S. are losing a heart-breaking number of news organizations every year. But at the same time we’re seeing a surge in innovation and experimentation in local news business models that is not only leading to some local news organizations avoiding closure but actually thriving and providing new kinds of connection and service to their communities. I’m not investing in a local newspaper because I think it will be profitable, but because I think a strong local news media presence is important for the health of a community.

Both Chris and the previous owners have a post with more details on the newspaper site. The site uses WooCommerce Subscriptions for memberships and The Business Directory Plugin for listing local companies.

I wish Chris all the best with this new venture. There are a lot of shared values between the communities that support open source and those that support local news.

Western Wayne News newspaper

A WordPress-Powered Publisher Describes Their First Year as a Non-Profit

Vince Dice is the editor of Gig Harbor Now, a nonprofit news organization in Gig Harbor, near Seattle.

His publication is celebrating its first birthday this week and he has interesting story to tell, that sums up many trends with local news in 2022.

For many years, Vince was connected to a newspaper called “Gig Harbor Life”, but things changed. This is from Vince’s launch post:

Gig Harbor Life was owned by the Kitsap Sun and was distributed — free — to thousands of mailboxes and dozens of drop points. When the Sun was purchased by Gannett, which was, in turn, bought by a hedge fund, Gig Harbor Life was discontinued and our town lost its “voice.” … It hurt. A lot. And it hurt our readers, too. Hundreds wrote to the publisher of the Sun, asking him to reconsider. But it was a done deal. The last edition of Gig Harbor Life was published in May 2018.

It took time, but over the next couple of years, the local Gig Harbor community worked towards replacing what they had lost:

They formed a board of directors, decided that becoming a community-based nonprofit news organization was the best business model for Gig Harbor Now, wrote up bylaws and articles of incorporation, and incorporated as a nonprofit business.

The new site does not have advertising. The non-profit is funded by donors and has a clear editorial independence policy, taken from the Institute for Nonprofit News.

Vince has posted a summary of the newspaper’s first year. The new “Gig Harbor Now” launched, using WordPress, on September 3, 2021.

We’ve published 479 more stories (as of Sept. 1) since those first five articles went live. We had more than 87,000 online page views in the month of July, after barely clearing 16,000 in our first month. We typically make about 30 Facebook posts a week. We’re working on our Instagram game, admittedly with room for improvement there. We’re on Twitter and YouTube. We’re at city council meetings and high school football games. We write about local businesses and the arts scene.

In another post, Vince zooms out to look at non-profit news more generally:

Nonprofit news isn’t exactly new. Public broadcasters have operated for decades as nonprofits … But the sector is growing, according to the Institute for Nonprofit News: “Since 2017, more than 135 nonprofit news outlets have launched” … Nonprofits like Gig Harbor Now attempt to make up for some of what has been lost as the for-profit newspaper industry shrinks. According to the the State of Local News 2022 report from Northwestern University, a quarter of the nation’s newspapers closed since 2005. The report predicts that fraction will rise to one-third by 2025. 

Vince closes with this summary of why his work, and the work of all local journalists, is important:

By themselves, nonprofit news outlets won’t replace all that has been lost in the decline of the newspaper industry. The 11,000 newsroom jobs created by digital-only sites, including nonprofits, between 2008 and 2020 can’t make up for the more than 30,000 jobs lost at newspapers in the same period. But with continued support from the community, we can be part of the solution.  Taylor says nonprofits like Gig Harbor Now can be “the future of how people get their news. You have experienced reporters that are vetted and have to go through an (editing) process to get their news online.” It’s a critical function, as Pat Lantz, president of our board of directors, points out. “Information and news is as important in the infrastructure of a society as water pipes and roads,” Lantz said. “It is a utility. It is essential to society, the free flow of truth-based information.”  

 In that last quote, Vince sums up much of what we’re saying here at KinshiPress. We are seeing a flourishing of local news, powered by WordPress. This is an important but fragile movement that needs to be encouraged and supported.