WordPress-for-newsrooms could help small publishers avoid the IT guy.
There’s a problem with WordPress: it’s too complicated for the typical small business owner. It’s also too complicated for the typical small news publisher.
So it’s exciting to hear that Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Lenfest Institute for Journalism, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Civil Media are all contributing financially to an effort by WordPress creator Automattic to create Newspack. Google calls it “a fast, secure, low-cost publishing system tailor-made to the needs of small newsrooms”.
Journalists should be writing stories and covering their communities, not worrying about designing websites, configuring CMSs, or building commerce systems. Their publishing platform should solve these problems for them. So while Newspack publishers will have access to all the plugins created by the WordPress developer community, the core product is not trying to be all things to all publishers. It is trying to help small publishers succeed by building best practices into the product while removing distractions that may divert scarce resources. We like to call it “an opinionated CMS:” it knows the right thing to do, even when you don’t.
It will be exciting to see the finished product. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come: easy-to-use installments of WordPress.