Traditional newspapers continue closing their doors as more journalists are striking out on their own to start blogs, news aggregators and hyperlocal community sites built on open-source platforms like WordPress.
Dispatch is a new WordPress theme for those independent writers seeking to establish themselves professionally online. In the classic style of online newspaper layouts like NY Times and Portfolio, Dispatch offers minimalist design with an emphasis on whitespace, typography and photography.
Benefits for Writers
- Credibility. Whether your new website aims to publish one writer or a team of ten, Dispatch has the visual impact of an experienced news organization with a professional understanding of the medium.
- Reputation. In a themes market crowded with hobbyist designers, Dispatch and its parent theme Mimbo Pro were built by web professionals with a solid reputation in the WordPress community for building news and magazine themes, including the first of its kind (Mimbo).
- Speed and Control. Because it’s an add-on for the powerful Mimbo Pro theme, Dispatch inherits its custom dashboard, carousel options and 5 widgetized panels which let users configure their layout with no technical knowledge required.
- Support. Forum support is already offered as part of your license, but we are making special efforts for writers just getting involved with WordPress. Need a designer to help you, or hosting recommendations, or general WordPress advice? Email me with questions and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Benefits for Developers
- A Baseline Theme. The clean simplicity of Dispatch makes life easy for multi-license developers who use Mimbo Pro as a starting point to rapidly build client sites.
- Commented Code. The neatly organized, heavily-commented stylesheet makes it easy to dive right in.
- Actions and Filters. The newest version of Mimbo Pro includes a helper doc (/tech_docs/actions_and_filters.txt) explaining the various functions that can be filtered. This means you can edit Dispatch’s functions.php file and change the display of content without ever touching the core MP files.
Dispatch is a small step toward branching out and developing more seriously for the changing news-journalism-community niche. Based on its success and user feedback, we’ll release more themes this summer.
Meanwhile, Ben is coding a monster of a new theme framework that we will use for future projects. Developers will love the set of filters geared specifically toward creating modular, customizable homepages similar to the BBC. There are also a dozen custom widgets built in—no plugins required. The filters will allow all of these features to be handled via child themes. Once again, the core files won’t need editing.
Suggest a Feature
If you’re a writer or run a local community portal and you’ve got ideas for features you’d like to see in a WordPress theme, feel free to drop me a line.