Racket is a New WordPress-Based Publisher in Minneapolis

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.”

WordPress-Powered Local News Subscriptions in West Virginia

Sarah Gooding from WPTavern published an awesome article on local newspapers in West Virginia.

With all the talk of big money in WordPress and big tech in general, it’s great to see people like Tyler Channell focus on real problems and real solutions like this. Here’s the description of Tyler’s WordPress-powered PaywallProject:

After helping his first local newspaper find success with a paywall he implemented, he decided to put together a simple ready-to-go website solution focused on growing paid digital subscribers for local newspapers across West Virginia and beyond. He now has approximately 20 local newspapers signed on to the PaywallProject’s services. The all-in-one subscription platform for local news costs $199/month and includes website development, a flexible paywall subscription platform with no transaction fees, migration, and built-in ad management.

How Much Revenue Do Local Publishers Make?

One of the ideas behind KinshiPress is that local publishers are successfully finding new business models, often powered by WordPress.

Here’s some data to back that up from LION, a group that supports local publishers: annual revenue went up by 33% between 2020 and 2021. Most local publishers get by on revenue of just over $100k per year, but that’s growing.

Click here to see the data from LION.

News businesses that are members of LION Publishers reported earning a median annual revenue of $125,000 in 2021 — a 33 percent increase compared to a self-reported median annual revenue of $94,000 in 2020. More than half of LION members that shared financial data in both 2020 and 2021 experienced revenue growth, which is an encouraging sign of journalism businesses becoming more financially healthy as they work to achieve long-term sustainability. 

WPSiteSync is New Free on Github

WPSiteSync is an interesting WordPress plugin that is now 100% free. The plugin allows you to sync WordPress content across multiple sites.

Our team at PublishPress had considered building something like this for publishers, but it did seem like a difficult technical challenge.