Announcing Newspack

Newspack by

Automattic Inc, the parent company of, is joining with other news industry leaders to develop an advanced open-source publishing and revenue-generating platform for news organizations. The effort is designed to address some of the persistent obstacles to creating economically sustainable models for journalism, particularly at the local level.

We’re inviting small and medium-sized digital news organizations — whether local, single topic, or general interest — to apply to become charter participants in the development of the platform, which will launch in beta form near the end of July 2019.

You can read more about the project, which is named Newspack by, here.

An application form appears at the end of this post. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (UTC -5:00) on February 1.

The effort will be fully funded by Automattic through the development period (which extends through Jan. 2020). After that, operating fees of between $1,000 per month and $2,000 per month will be applied to participating sites.

Successful applicants will have an opportunity to discuss their participation with the project staff before committing to come on board.


The following requirements will be used to assess prospective applicants:

  • Automattic will seek to assemble a group of testers that together represent a wide variety of organizational models, technology and business approaches, as well as audiences and geographies.
  • Consideration will be given to sites that have demonstrated both editorial and financial success in their markets (or in the case of new startups have a strong launch plan); sites whose models may have applicability to other digital news organizations; and/or sites that have run up against significant technical challenges in the implementation of their strategy.
  • Preference will be given to applicants already using WordPress. Exceptions may be made at Automattic’s discretion for sites easily migrated to WordPress.
  • To qualify for consideration, applicants should be able to articulate a clear editorial and business approach to the development and growth of their site.
  • The site should be designed to meet the news and/or information needs of a distinct geographic region or distinct subject area of coverage.
  • Sites should be producing original content and not be a pure aggregator.
  • Although all forms of media will be supported, sites that are principally designed for audio or video news reporting will not be supported in this phase.
  • Sites should have:
    • a track record of serving their intended news audience and a budget that credibly forecasts 12 months of continued operation, OR
    • a launch plan that addresses how they intended to serve their target market and funding commitments sufficient to operate for at least 12 months
  • Candidates must commit to participating in a bi-weekly video call and making staff available to assist with the migration of their site to the Newspack platform.
  • Candidates must commit to migrating their operating site to the Newspack platform at the conclusion of the initial six-month development period.

If any of these requirements are problematic, please note this in the “additional information” area at the end. Thank you for taking the time to fill out this questionnaire!