The News Project, a full-service publishing platform specifically built for digital news publishers, has received a six-figure investment from 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 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.

Go deeper: Big Tech throws money at the local news problem

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Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
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In pictures: Storm Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

Debris on the streets as then-Hurricane Zeta passes over in Arabi, Louisiana, on Oct. 28. It's the third hurricane to hit Louisiana in about two months, after Laura and Delta. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people, triggered flooding, downed powerlines and caused widespread outages since making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday.

The big picture: A record 11 named storms have made landfall in the U.S. this year. Zeta is the fifth named storm to do so in Louisiana in 2020, the most ever recorded. It weakened t0 a tropical storm early Thursday, as it continued to lash parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle with heavy rains and strong winds.

3 hours ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China