Technology and Media Companies Back New Publishing Platform Venture Led by Media Executive Merrill Brown – Associated Press To Provide Content Services

A group of media, journalism and technology companies has joined veteran media executive Merrill Brown in today announcing the formation of The News Project, a platform company that enables corporations, nonprofits and individuals to quickly and efficiently launch and build digital publishing businesses.

With a founding set of service providers and partners, The News Project (TNP), will create a full-service publishing platform for news startups and other innovators. The Associated Press, the global news agency, has agreed to work with TNP on a set of services that can be accessed by participating publishers through the TNP platform.

TNP makes possible rapid mobilization of new media properties for a broad universe of needs. “From pop-up topical sites to brand content news hubs to nonprofit community outlets, TNP’s customers will be able to address key publishing pain points,” said TNP Founder and CEO Merrill Brown. “TNP will provide enabling tools to new ventures, as well as to existing publishers who need to upgrade their technology and business strategies to keep pace with the ever-changing information marketplace. TNP, along with a group of industry-leading executives and partners, offers the most advanced and cost-efficient technology and solutions for content management, customization, distribution, socialization and monetization, along with an essential overlay of analytics and insights key to running a sustainable digital media business.”

Brown said that the company’s formation is based on the view that too many topics and communities are undercovered, and that structural issues undermine the formation of new journalistic properties. “Citizens with interests in important topics and vital communities are underserved today,” Brown said. “TNP solutions will address this market opportunity and civic need.”

“Today’s news cycles are counted in minutes and hours rather than days and weeks. Attention spikes and wanes in record time. We’ve designed a news platform for this volatile and dynamic environment,” Brown said. “TNP provides ‘news publishing in a box.’ For those who would like to launch or upgrade high quality news products, the cost of doing so tends to be excessive and the requirements, particularly around business models, are daunting. What’s needed are cost-effective, cutting-edge solutions that provide the capabilities to build sustainable business models that don’t compromise editorial realities or the consumer experience. We will be providing the most comprehensive affordable product available in the global marketplace.”

Founding partners include New York design and user experience firm Charming Robot (http://www.charmingrobot.com). A seed investor group is led by long-time media executive Mark Walsh and includes participants from Silicon Valley, Washington DC and New York. Other investors include Neil Roseman, former VP Technology at Amazon and Vice President of Engineering at Zynga who’s now Technologist in Residence at Summit Partners, prominent Washington DC attorney Scott Fredericksen of Foley & Lardner, his wife Dana Fredericksen, and former eMarketer Publisher Crystal Gurin. The platform is being engineered by renowned digital development company 10up (https://10up.com). In addition, TNP will be integrating technology developed exclusively for TNP by Piano, a global leader in digital subscription and audience intelligence technologies.

“We’re thrilled to have 10up and Piano joining The News Project team as they have experience providing technology to some of the top media and nonprofit organizations around the world,” Brown said. “They share our commitment to solving this set of technology challenges by building a company of significant scale that will be nimble enough to address evolving technological and editorial needs.”

Through the collaboration with AP, TNP sites will have access to AP content on a subscription basis. In addition, AP will make TNP technology available to customers and potential customers through AP’s Emerging Solutions program, which features offerings from a range of news media tool providers.

“We’re delighted to be working with the world’s most trusted news organization to launch our company and navigate the evolving media landscape,” Brown said. “Everyone is wrestling with the need to develop new sources of quality news content. We expect TNP to provide the enabling technology to foster topical, regional and niche news categories,” Brown continued.

TNP, a Delaware company formed in 2017, will serve both profit and nonprofit news and information sites, and will work with investors, foundations, editors, entrepreneurs, NGOs and others to develop both independent sites and news organizations that can join a TNP network. The company will offer complete CMS and platform services, production tools, business services such as membership and subscription options, consultative editorial and marketing services, and business planning capabilities.

TNP will be announcing additional plans and partnerships over the coming months, including further technology partners, investors and pilot projects.

Brown is a media industry veteran and innovator with experience in newspapers, magazines, television and digital. He was the inaugural Director of the new School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Previously, he was a journalist at The Washington Post, a cable television and publishing industry executive and editor, and the founding Editor in Chief of MSNBC.com, and he has been a long-time consultant to some of the nation’s most admired news and information organizations, including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, ABC News and New York Magazine. He has served on multiple media industry and nonprofit boards, and as an adviser to venture capital firms and early stage companies. He was a founder of the Online News Association and was the founding Editorial Director of News 21, the multi-university journalism project now housed at Arizona State University and launched by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Additional information on TNP and the TNP team is available at https://thenewsproject.net.

About The News Project

The News Project (TNP) is a for-profit Delaware-chartered technology company established to foster high quality journalism by making available a low cost, efficient, state-of-the-art technology and business intelligence platform for news and information startups and publishers looking to upgrade their capabilities. Customers could include foundations, brands, investors, philanthropists, activists and community groups. The company’s “news publishing in a box” platform and tool-set allow publishers to quickly and cost-effectively deploy all the major components needed to be successful, including content management (CMS), monetization, analytics and audience engagement capabilities. In addition, TNP facilitates pop-up news sites and other innovative properties syncing dynamic consumer news needs with commercial publisher business opportunities. The TNP platform is designed for today’s volatile news environment as it removes traditional barriers to entry to the news business. TNP sites have access to content from The Associated Press. TNP’s founding partners include Charming Robot, 10up and Piano.

Media Contact:
Andy Morris
Code Morris for The News Project
andy.morris(at)codemorris.com
917.710.1802