What is NewsCloud?

NewsCloud is free and open source software you can use to power engaging social media communities. Our platform provides a suite of Facebook-connected interactive features that can help you host a vibrant online community for your neighborhood, topic, community group, nonprofit, membership association or city.

While most content management systems are optimized around publishing, NewsCloud's features offer ways for your audience to participate and lead the site with user generated content. As activity increases, you can integrate advertising and paid content referral systems to capture new revenue streams. NewsCloud is designed to help you move beyond the limitations of Facebook pages.

Sample Partners

We work with mainstream media such as The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, hyperlocal community sites, nonprofits and small entrepreneurial startups. See all our partners and customers →


The Boston Globe is experimenting with NewsCloud to run an interactive town space called Your Boston. The site has not yet been actively promoted.


Advice and lifestyle columnist Carolyn Hax of The Washington Post is experimenting with NewsCloud to provide an interactive community space for her tens of thousands of avid fans.


MPR News uses NewsCloud to run MinnEcon, a beat reporting / public insight area for business and economic issues in the Minnesota region.

Suggested Uses of NewsCloud

NewsCloud can be used for a variety of community building applications by news organizations, nonprofit organizations, community foundations, membership and alumni associations, neighborhood associations and cities:

  • Virtual town hall for a city hub
  • Neighborhood community site
  • Community extensions for an existing news site
  • Community web site for a TV or radio station
  • Topic or interest community e.g. gardening, sports, travel
  • Adding specific interactive features to a blog e.g. forums
  • Community site for a columnist, author or radio or TV personality
  • Beat reporting / public insight community around a topic
  • Publish a college newspaper
  • Alumni association site
  • Activist community
  • Teach journalism: students run their own social media site
  • Research: use a site to study news engagement and social media
  • Sports team community site
  • Museum community outreach
  • Community site for annual festival

Audience Features

All of NewsCloud's features are tightly integrated to Facebook and Twitter for viral sharing.

  • Sign in with Facebook identity et al.
  • Share news stories from around the Web
  • Write your own blog posts
  • Event calendar
  • Invite your friends
  • Share photos and videos
  • Discussion forums
  • Peer Question & Answer
  • Idea crowdsourcing
  • Directory of links e.g. resources, reviews
  • Classifieds & Lending Library
  • Predictions Game
  • Browse RSS, Twitter items
  • Member activity scoreboard
  • Send a postcard

Technical Platform Features

NewsCloud's robust, extensible Ruby on Rails-based architecture provides a comprehensive feature set for growing your community. With NewsCloud's software, you can simultaneously run a Facebook application and a Facebook Connect website.

  • Runs Facebook application & Facebook Connect website in parallel
  • Facebook & Twitter integration for viral sharing
  • Configurable front page of news and interactive widgets
  • Customized design skin for your brand
  • Automatically populate site content from RSS and Twitter Lists
  • Presentation of curated and aggregated news
  • Real time notifications onsite and via email
  • Simple administration and moderation interface
  • Advertising integration
  • Statistical integration
  • Twitter Connect integration for auto-posting
  • Foreign language support via i18n libraries
  • Shortcut marketing URLs e.g. www.yoursite.com/sports
  • Revenue generation
  • Site maps for search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Online support

Getting Started

Most developers should be able to set up NewsCloud in minutes. Follow our easy installation guide. We've managed to find hosting for less than $45 per month at Rackspace but you can also use Amazon AWS Small Server Instance (approximately $50 per month) or your own dedicated server. We offer technical support online.

If you want additional support, contact us about running our managed services.