In this article, the first in our WordPress “Best of” series, we’ll go over WordPress newspaper themes. We’ll bring you the 30 best WordPress newspaper themes, as well as two news-aggregator themes. We haven’t included “news magazine” themes, but we’ll get to those in our upcoming article on magazine-style themes.
The themes are categorized a bit differently than what you may be used to. The line between magazine and newspaper themes is blurry, but we’ve tried to make that distinction. For our purposes, magazine themes look something like Smashing Magazine, whereas newspaper themes look like the Daily Telegraph, New York Times and so on.
You’ll find some great themes in here. And if you know of any others, do drop a link in the comments. At the end of the year, we’ll publish a round-up of all the best WordPress themes.
Paid WordPress Newspaper Themes
Zenko is stylish and colourful newspaper theme. The flexible and widgetized layout lets you easily adapt the theme to your needs. You can display articles in two ways, with the feature slider or as featured categories. The best part is that all custom widgets in the demo come with the theme. Like any modern theme, it has an options panel for novice users. You can make numerous changes, including to the logo, favicon, advertisements and social-network connections.
This has everything a newspaper theme needs. The designer has brought the classic news layout into the 21st century by giving it a modern touch and superb positioning of widgets. In the header are featured articles. A large area is reserved for the top story, spacious enough to catch the reader’s eye. The main content area is in two columns, where you can arrange categories and widgets. All custom widgets are included. Although I don’t like themes that allow you to drastically change the layout, you can turn this one into a blog theme.
This theme is inspired by the Daily Telegraph’s website. The designer has added a modern touch to the with the color palette and rounded corners. The home page can be customized in the back end, where you can choose which categories and posts to feature. You can also change the background color, manage advertisements and add widgets to sidebars. The theme comes with multiple custom widgets.
This newspaper theme has a lot of cool elements. Its unique jQuery features for readers include the ability to manage categories and drag-and-drop functionality for the layout. Also, visitors can set the number of posts shown in each category. This theme is fully widgetized, with an amazing 32 positions, and comes with a control panel and custom widgets.
WP Newspaper (demo)
WP Newspaper is one of my personal favorites. It has the feel of a real broadsheet newspaper. With an elegant yet simple layout, it would make a great theme for your news website. It has four different category layouts (two column, media, magazine and default), and the advertisement module displays different ads for each category. WP Newspaper also supports FLV Video Player and jQuery Tools.
The Journal (demo)
This newspaper design is neat. It emphasizes clear typography and a clean grid structure, rather than layout imagery, making this theme a breeze to customize. Showcasing content is the priority here.
Deadline is a powerful and professional premium newspaper theme. Whether your website is a personal blog or a full-scale content-heavy newspaper, Deadline has got you covered. You control the layout, and you can manage the advertising, pull in the latest tweets and show video. Readers can reach you through a contact form enhanced either with jQuery or Google reCaptcha.
PIM has flexible customization options, including for the home page widgets, skins and fonts. It also benefits from a quick-view feature; visitors can view incoming posts without having to refresh the page. There are also some jQuery-powered effects.
Arthemia gives your news website a colorful touch. You can assign a color to each news category without having to edit the templates. Nice custom widgets highlight the top story and featured articles, and the colourful categories come with short descriptions. The back end is not as advanced as in some other themes, but it’s more than enough for beginners.
Simple Reader (demo)
Simple Reader takes a different approach. It’s a kind of turn-key solution, a live sample that you can turn into a professional news theme. The template has a simple layout, and the nice jQuery pagination saves readers from page reloads. The theme comes with a grid and two-column page templates. You can also use the options panel to customize the analytics, style the layout, manage social networks and run advertisements.
SportsPress is designed for sports, but it can be used for other news websites. The elegant white and blue design is minimalist. The theme can be customized in back end, with an advanced options panel that lets you control the entire home page, with seven widget position and multiple custom widgets. As a bonus, you get an integrated jQuery script that adds a nice lightbox effect for pictures and videos.
Massive News (demo)
Massive News is a three-column layout theme for WordPress. You can switch the theme from the three to two columns; manage or disable the slider for featured posts and pages on the home page; and change the background color of content. The options panel includes Google Analytics integration, custom widgets for featured content, advertisements and related content, and much more.
Blognews is a stylish multi-purpose theme, with a unique home page that is ideal for those who want a more professional feel to their website. With 12 styles to choose from and a control panel for advanced options, the theme is easy to customize.
One of WordPress’ issues is duplicate content, especially on magazine and news websites. The code for this theme has been written in such a way as to completely avoid duplicate content without using categories. Proximity has an integrated options panel, one of the easiest and most customizable I have seen. Besides being able to control every aspect of the design, you can set up AdSense, feature videos and much more.
New Yorker (demo)
This was inspired by the New York Times’ website. Many people have been looking for a theme like this, so creating it was a great idea. The home page and sidebars are fully widgetized; you can use any of the seven custom-coded widgets (thumbnails, menus, comments, gravatars, Google Analytics and FeedBurner), along with all of the standard WordPress widgets.
This theme has four-column layout, allowing you to better control the home page and to place advertisements almost anywhere. Plus, there are options for column sizes, typography, navigation and more.
Being by the same developer, Byline and Local are very similar. Byline focuses more on typography, and it’s the first thing you notice. This theme uses Google’s Droid Sans Web font (changeable in the options panel). You can add color to the theme by adjusting the categories in the options panel. Like all Pro Theme Design products, this one comes with a plenty of custom widgets.
The News (demo)
This theme has many built-in features such as for social networking and advertising, which can be customized. The options panel even takes over some of WordPress’ core settings. This is a really good solution for people who haven’t used WordPress before.
Channel Pro (demo)
This simple clean newspaper theme has a two-column layout. The right column is used as a widget area, along with the footer. The options panel that lets you control every aspect of the theme, along with advertising and statistics.
News Time (demo)
The News Time theme has a minimalist design; it’s amazing how much the designer has done with so little. The focus is on the navigation, which is in the left column, unlike in most other themes. The look may be a simple, but the awesome options panel inside controls every inch of the theme.
News Flash (demo)
News flash has a nice design. With the rounded corners, dark background and elegant red navigation bar, it is one of the best designed newspaper themes out there. The home page is fully customizable from the options panel.
News Theme (demo)
This theme is 100% CSS, no images; amazing, isn’t it? Changes can be made in the options panel, without touching a single line of code; modifying any theme should be so easy. For more complex customization, though, you should probably know CSS. The theme has three columns, one for content and two for widgets and features. Widgets that come with the theme include a news ticker, a featured tab section for images and video, a vertical style menu, advertisements and much more.
Free WordPress Newspaper Themes
Global News (demo)
I rarely come across great and free themes, but this fits the bill. It’s very well designed and thought out. Advertising space is off to the left, taking minimal space in the layout, which is good. This theme also includes a PSD source file of the logo. It was released by InstantShift.
This is the free version of Channel Pro. It has two columns, featured articles and content on the left, and widgets on the right. In the options panel, you can manage advertisements and analytics and set up FeedBurner.
WordPress News Aggregator Themes
Aggregator is a free news aggregating theme. It pulls any kind of feed (posts, tweets, etc.) from any website and displays it on your website. The theme works as a CMS, so you can create pages but not posts.
This design is minimalist, but with a little CSS you can take it to a whole new level. The look is simple yet still appealing. Its purpose is to aggregate information from other websites and it comes with nice jQuery “quick view” feature.
Transmit is a simple free RSS aggregation theme inspired by AllTop. You can configure a single page with an unlimited number of RSS feeds from any website. The nice jQuery hover effect provides a short description of each aggregated post. Again, it works like a CMS, so you can create static pages but not blog posts.
Only some themes stand out from the crowd with their unique designs. Most of the themes featured above are fairly similar to each other in layout, colors and widgets. Every theme has an options panel, some of which are very advanced.
The main thing that irked me was that every developer claimed that their theme was optimized for search engines. I did a quick analysis for myself and found that all of the themes above are equally good from an SEO point of view; so, I ignore those claims, and so should you. Anyway, you should not choose a theme based on how search-engine friendly it is. To get real results on search engines, you have to do more than just fill in the blanks.
To get a full picture of today’s news themes, we recommend you stay tuned for our upcoming article on magazine themes. In the meantime, hopefully you find it a little easier to find a great news theme.
A gallery of top-quality WordPress themes.
- “100 Free High-Quality WordPress Themes: 2010 Edition,” Paul Andrew
A mix of the best SEO tools, including Majestic SEO, SEOmoz and SEMrush.