I share a lot of details about start-ups here at KinshiPress, but here’s a very different angle on WordPress publishing.
Word in Black is a collaborative effort between 10 Black publishers that share a strong and historic legacy. Several of these publishers are over 100 years old!
Here are the Word in Black group members. Almost all of them rely on WordPress.
- AFRO News (founded 1892)
- The Atlanta Voice (founded 1966)
- Dallas Weekly (founded 1954)
- Houston Defender (founded 1930)
- Michigan Chronicle (founded 1936)
- New York Amsterdam News (founded 1909)
- Sacramento Observer (founded 1962)
- Seattle Medium (founded 1970)
- St. Louis American (founded 1928)
- Washington Informer (founded 1964)
As you can see from their founding dates, these are long-established publishers. Andrew says that they grew out of their communities:
You have to understand that the print product for Black publishers was born out of the church. The reason why the Black press existed was that the printing press physically was inside church buildings and it was a literal gathering point where communities could get information.
I covered the Houston Defender and the Washington Defender last year when they took part in a report explaining their move to WordPress and Newspack. One reason Newspack has been successful is their migration problem. They’ve helped older publishers move off legacy platforms and on to WordPress.
Andrew’s effort is part of an effort between the Knight Foundation and Local Media Association. Here’s how he describes it:
With Word in Black, the Knight x LMA BloomLab is focused on sustainability for Black publishers and we look specifically at digital transformation. That is at the core of what needs to drive change — recognizing how audiences are changing the way they consume content. But there’s also the print product, which still for all of our publishers is the dominant source of revenue. We can’t take away the importance of what it means to those communities. Especially during COVID, it was a vital source of information. How do we transform both digital and print?
I’ve been writing that something new is growing in US journalism. It’s still fragile, and hard to define. One reason that this movement is difficult to describe is that’s it’s powered many of these collaborations between diverse groups. There are organizations like INN, Press Forward, Tiny News Collective, States Newsroom, Report for America, Local Independent Online News, and The American Journalism Project. It helps also that there are WordPress providers such as Newspack, PaywallProject, Lede, IndieGraf and more ready to help on the technical side.