“For all its naysayers Gutenberg is a game changer for digital news apps. Its a force multiplier for your team. We’ve spent the last 3 years going “all in” on block development. Here’s a little thread of what’s possible with the right investment into Gutenberg. The homepage, the top of topic pages? Those are all being built out in Gutenberg. Last fall we launched an updated version of our most complex digital product, the Political Typology Quiz. It’s built out in our Gutenberg powered PRC Quiz plugin. Two months ago we launched our new Chart Builder plugin, also powered by Gutenberg. You can build out charts with high levels of customization and see the changes in real time, its game changing! By end of summer we’ll be launching two new “quote sorter” interactives that will be our first built out in Gutenberg. What’s becoming a common interactive format for us will be something that a producer and designer can work together to create with minimal dev involvement. And this isn’t even taking into account every post, fact sheet, and data essay are built out in Gutenberg using a mix of core blocks and our custom block library. Half of our sidebar “widgets” (the TOC, Related Posts, and Popular Posts) are actually PHP rendered manually created blocks, a group block with special custom blocks like our TOC or Story Item block. This may seem like overkill, but it forced us into a block first approach that means by end of this fall we’ll be ready to go all in on full site editing. Which just means we can do more with fewer people and more consistently and better than before.”
It’s worth checking out Human Made’s review of their TechCrunch redesign. The new site is headless and required them to build a whole lot of new tools. The review has Github links to all the tools used during the build process.
“Founded in 2005, TechCrunch is the leader in online publishing in the tech and startup space. They are one of the most renowned publications in the technology and startup industry with an unparalleled insight into the nuances of Silicon Valley and its impact on the wider technology ecosystem. They are leaders in breaking technology news, averaging approximately 40 million monthly visits and amassing huge influence through their renowned TechCrunch Disrupt events. TechCrunch approached Human Made to collaborate on a redesign project and help them achieve their goals of a better performing, more streamlined CMS. Already familiar with the advantages of WordPress, Head of Product, Nicole Wilke, chose to accomplish this by capitalising on advancements with the WordPress REST API to build out a headless architecture on managed WordPress hosting.”
Poynter has a detailed article on revenue for Civil Beat, which is a WordPress-based news startup in Hawaii.
The site had initially launched with a paywall but found that it was not successful for them:
Civil Beat went with a paywall and $19.95-a-month subscriptions. After emphasizing dialogue in discussion chains after each story, layering in events and other membership benefits, making the paywall more porous, and dropping the price to $4.99 a month, Civil Beat still found itself with only a few more than 1,000 paying subscribers in 2016.
They dropped their paywall and have a new revenue goal:
“25% small donors, 25% larger local donors, 25% institutional giving and 25% ads and sponsorships.”
Here’s the Civil Beat WordPress site: https://www.civilbeat.org.
Here’s some encouraging WordPress-powered publishing news out of Baltimore:
“A team of journalists and nonprofit practitioners … announced today the return of Baltimore Beat, a Black-led, Black-controlled nonprofit newspaper and online outlet.”
The website will launch later in 2022 at https://baltimorebeat.com.
Here’s some background from Baltimore Magazine, another local WordPress site:
The Baltimore Beat, which had emerged after The Baltimore Sun bought and then shuttered the former alt-weekly City Paper, is re-launching this July as a bi-monthly, Black-led print newspaper and website. Initial funding for the re-launch came from a $1 million gift from the Baltimore-based Lillian Holofcener Charitable Foundation.
Racket is a really interesting start-up publisher out of Minnesota. They call themselves “writer-owned, reader-funded” which sounds like a very good pathway for a lot of news start-ups. They use WordPress with Pico for payments:
Here’s their “why” behind the project: https://racketmn.com/about-us/
Racket is a brand new writer-owned, reader-funded website founded by a group of former City Pages editors (RIP).
We trade in the same fun and fearless journalism CP specialized in since 1979: Twin Cities news, politics, music, arts, culture, civic oddities, food and drink, and theater, plus local angles galore. And we do it in a way that doesn’t suck to read.
Why? Because it’s a super bleak time for media. Because there’s nothing else like us out there. Because you can never have too many outlets representing workers, artists, and independents. Because the Star Tribune is owned by a billionaire and the Pioneer Press is owned by a vampiric hedge fund.
Racket is owned by four journalists who live in Minneapolis: Jessica Armbruster, Jay Boller, Em Cassel, and Keith Harris.
We rely on subscriptions from readers like you to make this thing work. It’s money that goes directly to our writers, editors, photographers, and artists—not some billionaire in a board room.”