Why Facebook is giving $300 million for local journalism
Hamza Shaban, Washington Post, January 15th, 2019
Facebook announced on Tuesday it will commit $300 million to journalism projects to help local outlets strengthen their news gathering operations and build their readership and subscription models.
“We’re going to continue fighting fake news, misinformation, and low quality news on Facebook,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships in a company blog post. “But we also have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to help local news organizations grow and thrive.”
Among the funded initiatives are: a $20 million investment in a program to help local outlets design and execute subscription and membership models; a $5 million endowment to create a grant program with the Pulitzer Center for local multimedia reporting projects; and a $2 million investment in Report for America, an initiative to recruit and fund journalists to cover under-covered topics in local newsrooms across the country.
Facebook’s financial commitment comes a year after Google pledged the same dollar amount, over the same timeline, to combat misinformation and support journalism, with a focus on boosting subscriptions to local news outlets. The pair’s investments are significant because of the tech giants’ dominance in the market for online advertising, which has exacerbated the decline of American newsrooms. Together, the two companies command about 58 percent of the digital ad market, steering massive amounts of ad dollars to their platforms.
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