Five essential WordPress plugins for indie news publishers

Picking from the most popular or highly rated plug-ins at is one way to find new plugins, but it’s more effective to target your search with advice from others who are facing similar challenges. To get the scoop on the best WordPress plugins for indie news we talked with Barb Iverson, digital thought leader, Journalism Professor at Chicago’s Columbia College, and editor and publisher of


As editor of a publication that runs news from many reporters, Iverson says one of the very best WP plugins for collaboration on a multi-author publication  is EditFlow. EditFlow’s description says it “empowers you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.” Iverson says she uses  EditFlow to set up a story budget by category, and monitor the content as it goes through the editing process. With EditFlow, you can set your own roles and send out pitches to all the people who are registered on the site. It also includes a calendar, and private commenting between editor and writer and user groups, as well as a host of other features.


Iverson recommends the semantic “blog assistant” Zemanta, saying it has saved her hours of work. The semantic search tool suggests links, related stories, and images that match what you are writing about. Zemanta also learns from you. Iverson says that at first it thought that the Austin discussed by Chicagotalks was in Austin TX, but now it understands that Austin is on Chicago’s West Side.

Zemanta’s description says it “recommends content while you write your post. It helps you enhance it with images, videos, links, and SEO optimized tags. It’s blogging on steroids!”

Zemanta says it pulls content from dozens of sources including Wikipedia, Amazon, Getty, Flickr and major news sources. as well well as more than 30,000 blogs. It’s also handy in that it  clearly  marks licenses such as Creative Commons.


Iverson uses CoauthorsPlus to byline stories written by more than one reporter. CoauthorsPlus says it “allows multiple authors to be assigned to a Post, Pages, or Custom Post Types via the search-as-you-type inputs.”

The extended version incorporates search-as-you-type functionality for adding users, which aims to make easy the task of adding multiple users to posts and pages, especially when dealing with a system with hundreds of users (typical of newspaper and magazine sites).


For embedding videos, images and other rich media,  Iverson recommends Embedly. The plugins’s description says it “allows bloggers to embed videos, images and rich media from “any” source with just the URL. It uses the Embedly API to get the embed code and display it in a post.”

You can either add through a special Embedly icon or embed the URL with special coding.

WordPress Mobile Pack

Finally, Iverson likes the WordPress Mobile Pack. The plugin description says “it is a complete toolkit to help mobilize your WordPress site and blog.”

It includes a mobile switcher to select themes based on the type of user that is visiting the site, a selection of mobile themes, extra widgets, device adaptation and a mobile administration panel to allow users to edit the site or write new posts when out and about.

Sally Duros is a social journalist working toward the next generation of successful, credible online newsrooms. Connect with her on  and on twitter at saduros.


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