Oklahoma Watch Becomes First U.S. Publication on Newspack; 34 Pilot Newsrooms Announced for Second Round

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Screenshot of the Oklahoma Watch website's homepage, featuring local news stories.Homepage of the Oklahoma Watch website on Newspack.

Oklahoma Watch is the first U.S. publication to relaunch and the second publication to go live on Newspack, a platform created this year to bring WordPress to newsrooms. Newspack announced the relaunch today. The announcement includes the list of 34 new publications that will work with the Newspack team during its second phase.

Newspack is a project of Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com. Its mission is to create a platform for more newsrooms to make the move to WordPress. The team has been working alongside industry leaders and small publications during the pilot program this year to tackle issues with running online newsrooms.

Chilean news site El Soberano was the first newsroom to go live on the new system, relaunching their site on October 16. Oklahoma Watch follows them as only the second publication to take the next step. The remaining participants in the pilot program are expected to launch in the coming weeks.

Oklahoma Watch is a non-partisan publication that does not publish opinion pieces. It is a nonprofit news organization that covers stories on public-policy issues within the state of Oklahoma. “Those include education, criminal justice, public and mental health, state government, poverty, and human-needs issues that disproportionately affect women, children, and the disadvantaged,” said executive editor David Fritze. “Our staples are in-depth stories, searchable data, interactives, public forums, live-tweeting and other social media, and, increasingly, video.”

The publication distributes its stories for free republication to around 100 newspapers and radio and TV news outlets throughout the state.

Oklahoma Watch’s Move to Newspack

In 2013, the Oklahoma Watch site moved to Largo, a WordPress

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