Introducing News Evolved

This post originally was posted on the News Evolved Blog. Check it out!

The story behind it

News Evolved is my first attempt at a WordPress theme. It stemmed from working for the Whitman Pioneer as Web Manager during the Spring of 2009. During this time I realized that there wasn’t really a theme for WordPress that incorporated a lot of the new thoughts concerning the online presence of newspapers.

So, I decided to set out to build one of my own. Inspired by the model created during the Revenue Two Point Zero conference in Washington D.C. I wanted to create a theme that took advantage of the new forms of media and technology that have become almost common place.

What are my goals?

While I’m not a journalist and have never worked as a writer for a paper I do have a passion as a consumer and designer of news.

I don’t know what the future of journalism will look like for reporters (there’s people far smarter than me who are working on ideas though) but I want to do all that I can to try and help news adapt to the web.

I wanted to create a theme that put the focus of a newspaper website back where it should have been all along: on the content.

The main layout for article pages

The main layout for article pages

For too long newspapers have had sites that take the view of “how can we make money from this?” News Evolved aims to be different. While designing I was thinking how can I make news appear in a more enjoyable and consumable manner? How can it draw readers in and once they’re in, what’s the best method for advertising?

I think it’s about time that newspapers started thinking of how they create the best environment and experience for the readers instead of how they can make the most money of readers.

To this extent News Evolved is aligned to a clean (in my eyes at least) grid and the ads remain where they will be most relevant: alongside the actual content.

What are the features and where’s the download?

News Evolved features a lot already and will be added to and expanded in the coming months. It’s available to download for free and all I ask is that you keep the spirit that I created it in alive. It’s meant to be something that evolves and changes with a news organization. So, share what worked for you, what plugins you found to be useful, etc.

The homepage of News Evolved

The homepage of News Evolved


The above features are just a small part of what I aim to include and accomplish with this theme. If you interested in seeing what will be coming in the following weeks and months head over to the development roadmap.

Thank you for your interest in News Evolved. I would love to hear what you think about it in the comments below and if you’re interested in getting involved on the development side of it get in touch.

In the coming days I will be posting more details about some of the features that I’ve worked into News Evolved and my rationale behind them so stay tuned.


Mark says:

Holy [Batman] that’s a nice theme. I’ve been trying to code something just like that for months but don’t have near your level of technical knowledge.

I’ve a few comments on it that I’ll come back and make later, just a few tweeks you may consider, I’m in class now though.

Anyway, wow.
Just wow.


Mark says:

I installed it on a spare/stagnant domain I have, had a fair few issues, as you’ll see if you click the link. It still looks great overall though, as a template. Is there a list of plug-ins that are compatible yet?


Andrew says:

Hey Mark-

Glad you like the theme. I’ve just posted a list of the suggested/required plugins that will solve the problems you’ve run into installing it. Check it out at:

Mark says:

I’m giving them a shot now, they’ve made some definite improvements but I’m still getting some big errors. Maybe it’s the way the posts are structured?

As I went through the plug-ins I got a feel for just how big a potential this theme has, once I get it sorted I’m going to transfer it over to the hyper-local site I’m starting.

Andrew says:

One thing to make sure is that the homepage and category landing pages have all of the correct category IDs entered.

The theme relies heavily upon pulling posts from certain categories (something that will soon be customizable from the dashboard) and if you have the wrong IDs entered then it will screw it up.

Also, after looking at the homepage it appears as though one of the main errors is because The Excerpt Reloaded plugin is not installed. This will take care of that error message on your homepage.

Mark says:

Ah yes, installed Excerpt_Reloaded certainly improved things. I need to sort out the settings etc. Thanks for your help, I’ve little doubt I’ll back asking for help later, but for now I’ll tinker around with it myself and see what I can manage.

Thanks again


Mark says:

Hey Andrew.

I’ve just cleared out my site to start over. I plan on installing News Evolved as the only theme on a clear server space.

The problem I had mainly was installing the plug-ins, it was fine getting them onto the server but I could not get the settings correct to make the page appear the same way as it appears in the screengrab you showed.

Would it be possible to get a sort of “walkthrough” on how to install the theme so it appears the way it is designed to? I’m unsure how to make the category IDs correct also.

Apologies, and thanks again.


A Coding Idiot

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