Jan 15, 2019

The News Project wants to make life easier for news publishers

The News Project, a full-service publishing platform specifically built for digital news publishers, has received a six-figure investment from WordPress.com VIP, the content management tech company owned by web development giant Automattic.

Why it matters: The News Project is a content management system business aimed at creating an accessible publishing platform for news companies. Publishing technology can be expensive and complicated for media upstarts or niche, local or small news companies. The investment will give The News Product customers access to the VIP services of Wordpress.

"From our earliest clients, news organizations were an integral part of WordPress’s growth from an open-source blogging platform to a technology that now powers more than 32% of all sites on the web. ... But in this difficult business climate for news organizations, we want to double down on our commitment to journalism and a free (and sustainable) press."
— Nick Gernert, Head of Wordpress.com VIP

What's new: News Project's founder, veteran media executive Merrill Brown, tells Axios that the company now has 16 investors as a part of its initial fundraising round, and it is in the final stages of completing the build of its proprietary content management system (CMS) that can be licensed on a monthly basis by news companies of all sizes and purposes.

The company's first paid subscriber to license the technology is CALmatters, a statewide politics and policy website based in California.

  • "It is a perfect launch customer for us," says Brown. "They have great editorial, and we have a great relationship. California is a great place to be covering news right now. It couldn’t be newsier, more active and more interesting."

What's next: Brown says the he expects to be announcing more customers in the next few months. The focus is on building a platform for news companies to publish about issues their readers care about, regardless of the news topic or locality.

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Exclusive: Pro-Trump group plans post-Super Tuesday blitz on Democrats

Democratic presidential hopefuls take the debate stage in South Carolina. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Pro-Trump super PAC America First Action is preparing to unleash a series of targeted, swing-state attacks on the Democrats most likely to face President Trump after Super Tuesday, people familiar with the group's plans tell me in an exclusive preview of its strategy.

The state of play: The group has been tracking favorable/unfavorable ratings in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania for 2020 candidates Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg — under the theory that if Trump wins each of these six states he would win re-election.