Hong Kong Free Press is to relaunch in early 2020 after being chosen by Newspack from around 500 applicants to receive a new website. In all, 34 news organisations around the world were selected this month to guide the development of a WordPress-based platform and content management system for small and medium-sized publishers.
The open-source platform, developed by Automattic’s WordPress.com will provide a powerful, easy-to-deploy technology solution for local and niche newsrooms. “It is designed to free publishers from the burden of selecting, deploying and maintaining complex software systems and allow them to dedicate more resources to producing high-quality journalism,” a Newspack press release said.
HKFP – founded in 2015 as the city’s first crowdfunded newspaper – will relaunch in the first quarter of 2020 with a faster, cleaner web presence and identity.
The initiative is supported by funding, as well as technical and advisory assistance, from the Google News Initiative; the Lenfest Institute for Journalism; ConsenSys, the venture studio-backing Civil Media; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. HKFP will pay around US$1,000 (HK$7,800) per month in hosting and maintenance costs upon relaunch.
“We look forward to working with Newspack, which will allow us to concentrate fully on reporting the news in an online environment developed specifically for our line of work,” said Tom Grundy, editor-in-chief of HKFP.
Eleven news sites are in the process of being relaunched and there are now 45 participating news organisations, according to Kinsey Wilson, president of WordPress.com. “It demonstrates the appetite for affordable solutions that will help sustain journalism at the local level,” she added.
The news comes eight months after HKFP won a US$78,400 (HK$615,440) Google GNI Innovation Challenge grant to create an open-source funding platform for small newsrooms focused on nurturing reader membership.
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