How To: Create a Public News Area for your WordPress site

I have been looking for some way to add a community news section to a blog of mine, buts its been quite difficult. TDO mini forms is a way to let people submit normal posts but I wanted the news to separate from the main blog and feed so that meant custom post types which TDO mini forms doesnt support yet ( you would need to use Gravity Forms). I found a few plugins for this purpose but the easiest to set up and get doing what I wanted was called FV Community News so I will use that and show you how to configure it in this post …

Install the Plugin

The plugin is free so go and download it from WordPress, Visit “Plugins” > “Add New” > “Upload” and upload the plugin zip file.

Activate the plugin and you will see it adds a new menu to your admin area , under “Settings” called “Community Bews” – this is where you will do all the configuration of the plugin.

Configure The Plugin Settings

If you click the “Settings” link you can begin configuring the plugin, the first part is settings such as whether an admin must approve the news before it appears (highly recommended!) :

Spam Protection

The next link in the “Settings” section is “Spam Protection” where you can enter your Akismet details – API key etc


The final link is for “Appearance” and simply contains a checkbox saying to include a stylesheet which you can edit if you wish to change the form appearance

Add The Widgets

Once you have these options how you like and have saved them, you can add the widgets to your theme that will display the submission form and the actual approved submissions. Visit “Appearance” > “Widgets” and you will see the widgets named “Community News” and “Community News Form” – you can drag these to any widgetized area in your theme. You can edit the titles and choose how many news items to display.

Approving Submissions

Once people start submitting news to your site, you can visit the “Community News” link and it will list all the submissions which you can approve, edit, spam or delete – the same as you would with normal comments.

How it looks in a Theme

I tested this plugin out on the TwentyTen theme with no additions to the stylesheet and this is how it looks when added to the sidebar :

The default styling is very plain, I think it would work best in a tabbed widget so the news displays as default and the form is hidden under a tab. Im sure this is possible with some hacking of the plugin.



Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, An Internet Company based in Manchester, UK. I founded WPLift and ThemeFurnace, find out more on my Personal Blog. Thanks!

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5 thoughts on “How To: Create a Public News Area for your WordPress site”

  1. Hi, I’m using gravity forms for user content submission of images, reviews, business listings, events and stories? It is my favourite plugin for this purpose as it offers all types of input you need. Custom post types + extra fields, uploads and all the rest!

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