Facebook Enters Local News Business


Vice President of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown made the announcement in a blog post yesterday that Facebook will be investing $300 million in local news over the next three years. The social media network has taken a beating for allowing fake news to infiltrate its site. This may be one attempt to put steak on that black eye. Whatever the reason, local radio newsrooms might want to take a look at what they are up to.

Brown says Facebook has worked to better understand what kind of news people want to see on Facebook. “We’ve also asked our partners in the news industry how we can better work with them to make a real impact. We heard one consistent answer: people want more local news, and local newsrooms are looking for more support.”

The company made the following announcements to expand their efforts to enhance local news with $300 million in investments in news programs, partnerships, and content.

Pulitzer Center: A $5 million endowment gift to launch “Bringing Stories Home,” a gift that will provide local newsrooms across the country with reporting grants to foster coverage on topics that affect local communities. Each year, the fund will support at least 12 local, in-depth, multimedia reporting projects, plus related community outreach. This gift will also unlock an additional $5 million matching gift from Emily Rauh Pulitzer, chair of the Pulitzer Center.

Report for America: A $2 million investment in the initiative to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms across America over the next five years.

Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund: A $1 million investment in this fund will be dedicated to a news innovation and technology hub that is being created to help evaluate and improve how technology is used in U.S. newsrooms for newsgathering, product development, and sustainable business models. The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced in September an initial $20 million, five-year commitment to this fund dedicated to strengthening local journalism in the digital age.

Local Media Association (LMA) & Local Media Consortium (LMC): aA $1 million investment across the two organizations to help more than 2,000 local member newsrooms better understand, develop, and implement revenue streams through branded content both on and off Facebook.

American Journalism Project: A $1 million commitment to this first-of-its-kind journalism enterprise, which will grow and sustain local civic news organizations through venture philanthropy.

Community News Project: A $6 million project, announced at the end of 2018, partnering with some of the biggest regional publishers in the United Kingdom — Reach, Newsquest, JPI, Archant, Midland News Association, and the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) to recruit trainee “community journalists” and place them in local newsrooms over a two-year period.

Brown says news is a key part of Facebook’s mission to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. “We’re going to continue fighting fake news, misinformation, and low-quality news on Facebook. But we also have an opportunity, and a responsibility to help local news organizations grow and thrive. We know we can’t do it alone but there is more we can and will do to help.”


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