By Chelsea Johnson
As the technology landscape evolves, so should our understanding of the needs of small local news organizations. When Tiny News Collective evaluated the market for a content management system three years ago, we found that affordable, right-sized options were hard to come by for founders with very limited time and technical resources. So we built and maintained our own custom content management system just for our members. The custom platform provided important functionality for TNC members at an affordable cost with competitive site performance.
In the three years since our custom-built solution launched, more publishing tools have emerged on the market which now offer enhanced functionality at a much more affordable price point for small local publishers. It was an excellent opportunity for our team to reflect on how to best support our growing membership given these changes within the market. When we explored the now-larger market for publishing tools available to small local publishers, one platform immediately stood out: Ghost.
As a member-first organization, the Tiny News Collective considers many factors beyond functionality, pricing, security, and reliability when we make technology decisions. In addition to delivering the reliable publishing experience that publishers need to reach their audiences, we look for technology partners who share a deep commitment to our mission and values. Sharing our commitment for supporting news organizations that reflect and serve their communities is crucial. It’s also important for prospective partners to uphold our members' independence by giving them greater control over their own data and revenue. Along with delivering a reliable, all-in-one platform, Ghost stood out to us for its commitment to growing self-sustaining, independent publishers. For these reasons, the collective is excited to partner with a mission-aligned organization and robust platform like Ghost in order to provide an upgraded publishing experience for our growing membership.
“At Ghost, our mission has always been to create the best open-source tools for independent journalists and publishers,” said Alex Kisielewski, Vice President of Partnerships for Ghost. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Tiny News Collective and excited to support its members in building sustainable local news and community-focused publishing businesses.”
Through this new partnership, we’re upgrading all Tiny News Collective publisher members from our custom platform to Ghost(Pro) Creator plans. This upgrade will provide new ways for TNC members to publish feature-rich content, integrate with new tools, and build new revenue models. Along with Ghost’s expansive resource library and community of support, TNC members will also receive customized resources to boost audience engagement and revenue on their Ghost sites. Members can continue to focus on their publications and communities rather than maintaining servers, plugins, and other technical details, all while benefiting from the new features that Ghost offers. TNC will further make use of these features as we re-launch our own membership portal on Ghost Pro, making access to all of our services, resources and documentation even easier for TNC members to make use of.
We’re deeply grateful to the Ghost team for their support and the commitment they share to supporting independent, community-focused journalism. With the help of technology partners such as Ghost, the collective can further its goal of making news entrepreneurship more accessible and achievable to more people from a broader array of professional and lived experiences.
This post was edited by Heather Bryant and Pilar de Haro.
Support for News Catalyst and the Tiny News Collective comes from the Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund and the Google News Initiative.
The Tiny News Collective believes a world where everyone can participate in creating relevant, accurate and culturally conscious local news and information is one where everyone can more fully engage in civic life, make more informed decisions, and better understand the world around them.
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Chelsea Johnson is an engineering leader and technical strategist with over a decade of experience building scalable software and growing diverse engineering teams. She earned a degree in Computer Science from the University of California San Diego, where she co-founded its undergraduate Women in Computing organization. Following her studies, she developed software and led engineering projects for enterprise companies such as Salesforce and Tableau, where she has also authored technical content, advised on engineering DEI initiatives, and served as a featured speaker.
Leveraging her additional background as a startup founder, Chelsea enjoys working with tech and media organizations of all sizes to invest in software strategically and develop engineering teams inclusively.
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