Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
So Youngstown will have a daily named The Vindicator after all. But it’s a brand surviving, not a newspaper.
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
May 18, 2016, noon
Mobile & Apps
LINK: mercury.postlight.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   May 18, 2016

Google recently began giving AMP stories — optimized for fast loading on mobile — further preferential treatment, featuring them in a special carousel on Google News. In other words, it’s a good time for publishers to get their content AMP-ready, if they haven’t yet.

Still, the process of getting set up on AMP is fairly involved and time-consuming. But on Wednesday, the New York–based digital agency Postlight released a free tool, Mercury, that promises “instant AMP results with zero development.”

“It takes real energy, time, and money to get on AMP,” said Rich Ziade, cofounder (along with Paul Ford) of Postlight, which counts publishers like Time Inc. and Vice among its clients. “The bigger publishers are starting to earmark resources and putting them in motion, but smaller publishers, or publishers that don’t have the resources, are kind of hesitant, or taking a wait-and-see attitude.” It had been taking some of Postlight’s publisher clients two to four months to rewire their content systems to support AMP. (Richard Gingras, Google’s head of news, says small teams with homegrown CMSes can implement AMP “within a few days.”)

To install Mercury, all you have to do is fill out a form on Postlight’s site, get a line of code, and drop it into your template page. The tool works with any CMS, including WordPress (which already has an AMP plugin that “spits out a generic look and feel,” Ziade said; he encouraged publishers to test both).

Postlight considered releasing a free tool for Facebook Instant Articles simultaneously with the AMP tool, but “it would have taken us about twice as long to implement,” Ziade said. (Working with the open-source AMP was easier.) Instant Articles support could be included in a future version of Mercury, though.

“One of the goals of this kind of tool was to empower publishers a bit when the game’s changed on them yet again,” Ziade said. “We were seeing people freak out, and we were just like, why don’t we give them a tool that makes it easier for them to react to what’s happening out there.”

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
So Youngstown will have a daily named The Vindicator after all. But it’s a brand surviving, not a newspaper.
Long after the local newspaper business stops making any sense at all, there’ll be a lot of powerful brand names that will retain value better than what the printing presses pumped out. That’s how we’ll get local news outlets without much local news.
Maybe you know that article is satire, but a lot of people can’t tell the difference
Labeling satire as such may seem to take the sting out of the joke. But it’s also the most effective way we know of to prevent people from taking satirical content as fact — something surprisingly common.
This reporter came for ER bills (with the help of 1,000-plus patients), and now doctors are listening
Sarah Kliff has brought her healthcare billing projects from Vox to The New York Times, reporting on the submissions of thousands of readers. And now she’s written for an audience of practitioners and academics.