Alex Pan is one of the founders of Storipress

553. Storipress aims to democratize the tools of online publishing

Journalists have been relying on WordPress for websites for what feels like forever, since the dawn of the internet (or so it seems). But what if there were a better way? 

At the same time, ecommerce has developed and advanced by leaps and bounds, with easier integration of tools and features that might be available to WordPress users but at a steep cost. 

Alex Pan and his team think they’ve created a better way with Storipress, a new publishing platform designed for publications and media with the ease of WordPress, the power for Shopify and the tools of major media organizations. 

The concept started to percolate when Pan saw enterprise publishing platforms with a price tag of two to three times that of ecommerce websites.

”While it costs nothing to create a simple blog, which WordPress is built for, the media ecosystem has moved far along farther than just a blog. It’s possible (to have other attributes and tools) in WordPress but it’s very, very expensive. Shopify has spent the last 20 years developing beautiful tools for developers for ecommerce vendors to create an ecommerce story easily and cheaply but there’s been no similar investment on the media side.”

The two don’t need to be so different, he says. 

“Media content is more than just creating content and putting it online. There’s so much more that goes on. If you’ve worked in a newsroom with 30 people, you’ll know every single journalist always complains about the workflow. That’s a problem WordPress doesn’t solve for. One article in a big publication might go through 80 steps, from the idea to hitting the user’s eyeballs. Eighty steps — that’s nuts! If we had an integrated workflow solution in the CMS, we can bring that 80 steps down to 30-40. By bringing it down, you’re making your job twice as efficient. It’s not just getting content and bringing it online.”

Additionally, ecommerce sites and large brands are increasingly interested in educating their customers about their products through purchased media and, essentially, they’re becoming their own media companies in order to do that. Audiences don’t like seeing advertising on other platforms, so brands are cutting out the middleman. 

“Every company that operates a blog, there’s so much potential there to create a newsroom in order to educate their audiences about what they do,” Pan says. “Every company is a media company. Storipress really doesn’t operate only for newsrooms, but it plugs into shops like Shopify and allows them to run their media operations more efficiently.”

For newsrooms, this also works in reverse, by providing the same kind of tools larger media companies, and those with even slightly larger budgets than smaller organizations, at a fraction of the cost. 

“People want a more simple experience but every masthead, The New York Times, The Washington Post, it’s not surprising their software costs are in the tens of millions” for their online product. “Even Axios, with their beautiful, simple layout, there’s a lot of tiny things you don’t realize as a user. Those really fast run lines, the snappy infinite scroll, it’s complex to integrate from a technological degree that makes Axios the best in breed. We try to take that experience and make it accessible to the layperson.” 

The end goal of Storipress is to “allow journalists to be their own version of The New York Times,” he says. “We’ve democratized the tools The New York Times spend hundreds of millions of dollars building on their own and we give it away to every journalist for $16 a month.”

Alex Pan is one of the founders of Storipress, a new publishing platform that’s being billed as the alternative WordPress that’s designed for publications and media. Pan talks to It’s All Journalism host Michael O’Connell about how Storipress is sort of the love child of Squarespace, Trello, Google Docs and Substack.

Allison Taylor-Levine

625. Community collaboration key to evolving local journalism

Allison Taylor Levine, CEO of Local Journalism Initiative, discusses how LJI’s Delaware Journalism Collaborative, which has brought more than 25 partners throughout the state together to report on polarization and possible solutions, strengthens local journalism in Delaware and our democracy.

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