The goal of the first release was to demonstrate different ways of thinking about how foster communities and conversations around news articles on the web, and not to build a real news website or software to power a real news website.

Version 1.0 of News Mixer is a standalone application built on Python and Django. It is meant as a technology demo. For those who liked the ideas and wanted the software, News Mixer is a great commenting system, but it lacks depth. There was very little time put into anything but the commenting. The content management component is minimal. There is no support for posting media. There was a lot of thought but little dev time put into comment moderation, either for site owners or visitors. It’s what happens when you only have 11 weeks to go from “you can do whatever you want” to working software + report + polished presentation.

Despite the minimalism of News Mixer 1.0, it was a hit. People were impressed and inspired by it. So for a tech demo it was a success. Now to make it usable …


Yes, there will be a WordPress plugin.

The next release of News Mixer will be a more useful application built to actually be used by folks. The plan is to build an API on top of News Mixer and build a plug-in to make the features available for WordPress. In addition to an API, we’re going to give News Mixer the ability to handle commenting for multiple sites.

Why not just put all the commenting features into a WordPress plug in?

So the wheel re-invention is kept to a minimum. So we can plug the features into other applications without writing everything from scratch. So folks can manage the comments for many sites in one place. And so maybe it will grow up to be its own web service someday.

There is a big list of things that our team came up with that could make News Mixer better: more commenting systems, rating systems, moderation. But right now we need to make it accessible for people to use.

This new work for News Mixer is being done by the Gazette and me (Ryan Mark). I’ll be writing more about the progress on my blog: and on twitter: Send me your thoughts.

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5 comments until now

  1. Hi, I recently was introduced to NewsMixer by Rich Gordon.
    Would love to use the platform for grassroots journalism projects in my area. is one of my latest ones. While I’m pretty hands-on with WordPress, htmls, css… would it be challenging for a non-coder? What would the WordPress plugin do vs. the the whole thing? Are you still developing it? Can you be contacted directly?

  2. William Todd

    Great work. Very, very interesting, good luck! I came to this through an article in the latest Nieman Reports. Great to see such grassroots innovation and a good grasp of the faultlines between social media and MSM going on at Northwestern.

  3. Great!!Is a good initiative. It now calls the Internet is very popular(,

  4. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don’t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  5. Charles Johnson

    This is good. While our web designers perth are used to using disqus and intense debates as the commenting platform for our website, this can be considered, too. It’s still good to have coverage for every commenting platform to accommodate all type of users, right?

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