I’m Trying to Understand a New Group of Publishers

For my day job, I run PublishPress, TaxoPress, and MetaSlider which produce publishing plugins for WordPress.

Over the last couple of years, that work has introduced me to an exciting new movement of publishers and journalists. Because the movement is so new, I’ve struggled to define it and haven’t seen many other people talking about it.

The solution? I’ve been blogging through it. For about 18 months, I’ve been writing at KinshiPress, featuring these new publishers as I find.

Finally, I think I’m coming to understand this new movement.

For the lack of a better name, I’ve taken to calling them “Kinship publishers.”

This movement started to emerge between 2020 and 2022. I use the term “Kinship” because the defining trait of these publishers is that they build a genuine relationships with their readers.

Here are five key traits shared by the Kinship publishers:

  1. They aim to build community, rather than chase clicks.
  2. Their coverage is tightly focused one or two subjects or locations.
  3. They have range of revenue sources, including subscriptions, ads, donations, and events.
  4. Profit is important but not the only key reason for the publisher to exist. Some are businesses and owned by the journalists. Many are non-profits.
  5. Most of them build on WordPress because it gives them ownership of their platform.

Examples of Kinship Publishers

I’d recommend checking out publishers such as Block Club Chicago, Honolulu Civic Beat, Mississippi Free Press, Mountain State Spotlight, Defector, and The Narwhal. You’ll find many more here on this site.

Most of the examples I have are from the USA because that’s where I live, but there are similar publishers in Canada, Guatemala, the Philippines, Ukraine, and more.

In the USA, these publishers are supported by organizations such as INN (Institute for Nonprofit News), Newspack, States Newsroom, Lede, Paywall Project, and more.

What’s next?

Now that I have more clarity on this movement, I’m going to write about it more. Join the newsletter or join the Facebook group. I’ll be posting each Friday.