Powering Grist’s award-winning journalism withCustom development,

content syndication,
and analytics

featured image for Grist case study

About Grist

Founded in 1999, Grist is a nonprofit, independent media organization that uses the power of journalism to engage the public about climate change and climate solutions. They are committed to the stories, the ideas, and the people who are making a sustainable future a reality.

Grist was looking for a reliable partner who would take care of their web stack so they could free up their editorial team and focus on what they do best — tell engaging stories that matter. They chose rtCamp.

Codebase optimization: A faster website with faster publishing

Understanding the importance of a solid foundation, rtCamp began with a first things first approach. While visually appealing, Grist’s website suffered from a bloated codebase and a confusing backend that was put together by multiple different teams and freelancers. This slowed down both the website and the editorial team. rtCamp optimized the codebase and streamlined the backend, resulting in a faster website speed and improved editorial workflow from the get-go.

Custom development: Empowering Grist’s storytelling

Custom content blocks

Beyond text, Grist captivates readers with visually stunning storytelling that sets them apart from other non-profit publications. Each story is crafted using one of the many custom content blocks developed by rtCamp. Due to the sheer variety of content blocks available, editors have unlimited ways to tell a story. rtCamp also provided other useful blocks such as in-content donation blocks, newsletter subscription blocks, different header strips and more. To increase readers’ convenience, rtCamp added the functionality to listen to stories as well as download them in PDF format.

Grist site design mockup

Special projects: On-demand engineering

Grist frequently collaborates with other publishing partners for special projects. These one-off projects are usually long-form, graphic-heavy stories with interactive elements. Whenever such projects arise, rtCamp captures the essence of what Grist’s editorial team is going for, turns it into actionable engineering items and makes sure their vision is met.

Custom Gallery Header for a special project

rtCamp also works with Grist’s partners when required, and the feature requirements are incorporated without disrupting ongoing operations. Each feature is implemented with intelligent engineering, ensuring that the site’s performance is not compromised. Additionally, rtCamp provides thorough documentation for new features, ensuring that the Grist team can work seamlessly and without confusion.

Scroll-activated visualizations for a special project

Grist’s special projects have earned them accolades for their compelling investigative journalism. Stories like ‘Any Way the Wind Blows’ and others have won Sigma awards for outstanding data journalism. Grist also won the ASME award for General Excellence in the Literature, Science and Politics category. 

Effortless content syndication for maximum reach 

Content syndication is a marketing strategy that involves distributing content across multiple platforms and websites. While it’s a great way to reach new audiences and boost brand awareness, Grist was running into multiple issues trying to make syndication work – First, there was no painless way for other websites to republish the content. Second, Grist’s stories featured externally sourced licensed media, which meant copyright headaches for Grist as well as republishers. Third, any content that was republished went dark, leaving performance a mystery.

One-click republishing

rtCamp built a solution that allows other websites to easily repost Grist’s stories with the click of a button- Republishers simply have to click a ‘syndication button’ that automatically generates a version of the story that is stripped of any copyrighted media, that they can copy and repost worry-free. Furthermore, they can choose to copy from SEO-ready HTML format or plain text. This made content syndication not only hassle-free but also copyright-compliant for Grist and their partners.

Tracking republished content

To solve the problem of tracking republished content, rtCamp added the option to include a tracking pixel that helps the Grist team find out who is republishing their content, as well as where and when. rtCamp also built a custom dashboard in Google Analytics tailored exclusively for the Grist team. With the help of the new syndication solution and the insights gained from the dashboard, Grist was able to supercharge republishing of their stories and reach new audiences. 

Grist GA4 screenshot

Google Analytics Dashboard showing data such as republishing locations, websites, frequencies and more.

Data driven content decisions with analytics from

rtCamp also integrated, a content analytics platform specifically designed for publishers. Since it understands categories, tags, custom post types, etc. natively as they are in WordPress, provides a great analytics experience out of the box. Beyond mainstream metrics such as traffic sources and top pages, provides metrics such as reading time according to category, percentage of traffic according to campaign, and others that can be viewed by mixing and matching parameters on the dashboard.  With valuable insights from, the Grist team is equipped to optimize their content strategy and prove ROI to investors.

Custom WordPress dashboards

Leveraging the flexibility of WordPress, rtCamp created a custom screen that allows easy access to sitewide settings. The sitewide settings screen allows the Grist team to easily modify ever present elements such as the Appeals Bar, mobile-specific options, change donation amounts for different blocks and other settings critical to every non-profit newsroom.

Grist site WordPress dashboard settings screenshot

Managed WordPress services: Free up time, focus on what matters 

As Grist’s engineering partner, rtCamp manages their web stack to make sure the website is fast, secure and always up to date. This includes managing WordPress core updates, handling plugin updates to make sure nothing breaks, addressing any vulnerabilities and monitoring website security. This enables Grist’s publishing team to concentrate on their work and provide visitors with a great user experience, while rtCamp provides ongoing day-to-day support.

~4 years of successful partnership

The rtCamp and Grist partnership is ~4 years old and still going strong. With day-to-day WordPress management and on-demand engineering from rtCamp, the Grist team can rest assured about their web infrastructure, free to unleash their creative vision and focus on what they do best — telling climate stories that matter.

Jason Castro

We’ve been very impressed with the flexibility and expertise of rtCamp’s team, who implement a wide range of website features and functionalities for us. Their work continues to add so much value to our articles and award-winning special features. We’ve also been thankful to rtCamp for consistently being available and on point for last minute projects and tasks. The team also chimes in when it’s time to optimize and improve different core components of our site, on top of juggling multiple moving parts day to day. Lastly, collaborating and communicating with the rtCamp team has been a real pleasure. I look forward to what else we can accomplish together.

Are you a non-profit publisher looking for a reliable engineering partner to help you scale? Fill out the contact form and we’ll get back to you.


Book a strategy call
with our experts

No obligation. Limited slots.

Contact Form Business Enquiry

"*" indicates required fields

Please attach any RFP, project specification, or document that you would like to share.
Drop files here or
Max. file size: 5 GB.
    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.