A pair of local newsrooms are joining new programs backed by Google’s initiative to support digital journalism.
The Google News Initiative, created last year, aims to work with journalism organizations as they navigate changing business models, new tech tools and the like. The two programs announced this week are focused on business and tech.
The Baltimore Sun, the local daily newspaper of record, is among 10 newsrooms joining the initiative’s Digital Subscriptions Lab, which is helping publishers looking to bolster reader revenue through online subscriptions. Along with Google, the six-month program will provide resources from the Local Media Association (LMA) and FTI Consulting. This includes an evaluation from FTI Consulting of the current performance of the program, and opportunities for growth.
“In the end, the judges chose ten [publishers] that came with a willingness to experiment and a commitment from the highest levels in their company,” LMA President Nancy Lane said in a news release. “We’re excited to work with this cohort on strategies that can change the trajectory of the newspaper industry.”
In a separate program, Google News Initiative is the lead underwriter of a project to create a new business platform for small- and medium-sized publishers from content management system WordPress.com.
The Baltimore Jewish Times, the weekly publication and online news outlet covering the local Jewish community, is one of a dozen news organizations joining the effort to create Newspack, a WordPress-hosted product designed to serve tech and business needs.
We're pleased to announce the 12 newsrooms that will help shape the creation of Newspack, a new publishing platform for small and mid-sized newsrooms https://t.co/r2NO7PZUFF
— Lenfest Institute (@lenfestinst) April 3, 2019
Through the program, journalists will work alongside the development team for Newspack to design, test and deploy the initial versions of the product, which will include built-in audience engagement and revenue development features.
News Revenue Hub and Spirited Media are also partners on Newspack’s development. Along with Google, the effort is also funded by the Philadelphia-based Lenfest Institute, Brooklyn blockchain company ConsenSys and the Knight Foundation.
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