One of the key players in the WordPress publishing ecosystem is Newspack. They have a hosted service, but it’s also possible to download and use Newspack independently. The key Newspack plugins are all available on Github.
Over at PublishPress, we’ve been seeing some customers use Newspack on their own hosting. This led me to write a guide to using Newspack for self-hosted projects.
It turns out that our customers aren’t alone. There’s a small ecosystem already growing around Newspack.
The current Newspack Ecoystem
Let me share some examples I’ve seen recently of people working to use or extend Newspack.
Over at PaywallProject, Tyler is busy moving small newspapers to WordPress. He has just launched his first Newspack-based publisher.
Adam Schweigert is a WordPress developer who is also using Newspack for customer projects. He ran into an issue with Newspack being hosted on Github. WordPress doesn’t make it easy to update plugins hosted on Github. So he found a library that can help keep them up-to-date, and wrote a plugin to handle updating the Newspack plugins. Click here to download Adam’s plugin. This plugin will show updates inside your site, almost as if the plugin were hosted on WordPress.org. This screenshot below shows an update for the main Newspack plugin. Click “update now” and Adam’s plugin will install the latest version for you.
There’s also a network of developers around Open Producer who are contributing in this area. Their work involves using Newspack for radio stations. They’ve got a plugin for this audience available on WordPress.org:
The 10up agency have some plugins that overlap with Newspack too, including their Publisher Media Kit. That plugin is a quick and easy option for publishers to digitize their media kit.
What’s next for Newspack?
Newspack has the opportunity to do for publishers what WooCommerce has done for eCommerce.
There’s a big audience out for a publishing platform that is open source, highly extendable, and has the backing of a successful company and a strong community. Where else can newspapers, magazines and radio stations go? They mostly go to WordPress already, but the platform we provide them could be much more targeted and helpful.
Some simple steps could go a long way. Here are two that would have a big impact:
- Put the Newspack plugins on WordPress.org
- Improve the documentation around the project
I’m not the boss of Newspack, but I do see the opportunity for WordPress to own this space. Just like WooCommerce, Newspack could embrace being a hosted service and also an open source product.