The final phase of HKFP’s 2020 relaunch is now underway, with a pause in coverage as our content is migrated to a new website. Our relaunch will mean readers will have a more accessible, beautiful and faster experience when they catch up with the news, and we will be rolling out new features – such as live blogs – in the months that follow.
The earlier phase of our relaunch has already been completed:
- ✔️ Code of Ethics: This month, HKFP adopted a new Code of Ethics which puts into writing our journalistic standards for the public to see. It will govern all of our reporting practices and was shared as part of our commitment to transparency.
- ✔️ Corrections Policy: To promote even greater transparency during a time when media credibility is in the spotlight, HKFP also disclosed our corrections policy.
- ✔️ NewsGuard recognition: A week after the launch of our code, HKFP was found to have met all nine of the NewsGuard initiative’s credibility and transparency criteria, scoring 100 per cent.
✔️ Annual Report & Transparency Report: HKFP published its new Annual Report this year, detailing our work and news coverage over the past 12 months. It included a Transparency Report so donors and readers can see clearly how we are funded and how we spend contributions.
- ✔️ New staff & training: HKFP proudly welcomed two new reporters to our team last month – Kelly Ho and Rachel Wong, who will complete their training next week. We are also awaiting a work visa for a new senior editor, set to join us in April.
- ✔️ Investment in original reporting: As promised, HKFP has restructured to give our team more time and space to focus on original reporting. We published more exclusive features and interviews in the space of two months than we normally would in half a year. Though our number of daily, breaking news stories were not affected, we recently chose to be more selective, shared writing duties and published opinion pieces throughout the week rather than just at weekends. From next month, we will be filling any gaps in daily reporting through more frequent Twitter updates.
- ✔️ US charity equivalency: In 2019, HKFP went through a legal examination to be recognised as the equivalent of a US charity. Hong Kong law does not allow media outlets to register as tax-exempt charities, thus HKFP is a limited by guarantee company – a non-profit, answerable to readers not shareholders. As of January, we are now certified by NGO Source. Whilst this does not mean we are tax-exempt, it can be of some assurance to donors and grant-making bodies that we meet the same standards of a US public charity in terms of our structure, accountability and governance.
- ✔️ Google project progress: Last March, HKFP won a US$78,400 (HK$615,440) Google GNI Innovation Challenge grant to create an open-source funding platform for small newsrooms focussed on nurturing reader membership. The first phase of the project is set to be completed in late April ahead of a launch next year.
Our new website:
After winning a place on the Newspack platform, the HKFP website is set to relaunch with a faster, cleaner web presence during the first week of April. Newspack “selects, streamlines and simplifies the use of other plugins best suited to newsroom needs” meaning we will have a platform that is built specifically for our needs.
We will also be launching refreshed HKFP branding, designed by SZS.io.
- Costs: The Newspack 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. However, the project represents a long-term investment for HKFP, as we will pay around US$1,000 (HK$7,800) per month in hosting and maintenance costs upon relaunch.
- Features: For those interested in the technical features of our new set-up, HKFP’s new site will include:
- A highly customisable homepage.
- Fully responsive design on all platforms.
- The WordPress Guttenburg and Jetpack framework.
- Compatibility with Google AMP, PWA and Facebook Instant Articles.
- Integrations for Apple News, Mailchimp and social media.
- Live blogging tools.
- Super full-width photography and multimedia presentation options.
- SEO, advertising and A/B testing features.
- Newspack promises fast speeds and stability and the cost includes hosting, support, security, backups, updates and access to a community of dozens of other Newspack recipients.
With news of the coronavirus outbreak and ongoing protests evolving each day, it is a tough decision to put a brief halt to our coverage. Whilst the Newspack collaboration involves expertise from a multitude of international tech firms and journalism bodies, HKFP is a small team of four with no dedicated developers or engineers.
During the shutdown, our reporters will be busy gathering stories, monitoring developments and aiding our transition to the new site. Training and testing are also important elements of the coming days, as we need to ensure that we maintain a continuous and secure web presence throughout the process and after relaunch.
Our investments are almost complete, as we race to beef up our reporting capacity for the future. Thank you to all of our readers and donors for bearing with us as we enter this final phase.
Not-for-profit, run by journalists and completely independent, the HKFP team relies on readers to keep us going and to help safeguard press freedom. 12 ways to support us this Lunar New Year.