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.

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

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Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 20,739,537 — Total deaths: 751,910— Total recoveries: 12,895,242Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,242,184 — Total deaths: 166,971 — Total recoveries: 1,755,225 — Total tests: 64,612,034Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Antibody drugs and various medicine cocktails against the coronavirus are progressing and may provide some relief before vaccines.

The big picture: Everyone wants to know how and when they can return to "normal" life, as vaccines are not expected to be ready for most Americans for at least a year. Two therapies are known to be helpful, and more could be announced by late September, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci tells Axios.

2 hours ago - World

Behind the scenes: How the Israel-UAE deal came together

Trump, Kushner and Netanyahu (L-R). Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty

The breakthrough in talks between the U.S., Israel and UAE on a normalization deal came two months ago, White House officials tell me.

Behind the scenes: Talks had been ongoing for more than a year, but they gained new urgency ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's July 1 deadline to move ahead on West Bank annexations.