Facebook commits $100 million to support news industry during virus pandemic
Facebook is making a play in support of the news/media industry by investing $100 million to support local news organizations during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Variety, this is in addition to its previous pledge to dole out $300 million over a three-year period.
Campbell Brown, Vice President of global news partnerships issued a statement explaining why Facebook is turning its attention to the media industry, saying, “At a time when journalism is needed more than ever, ad revenues are declining due to the economic impact of the virus.”
“Local journalists are being hit especially hard, even as people turn to them for critical information to keep their friends, families and communities safe.”
CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a similar statement on his page Monday, saying, “We’re hoping this will support many journalists through this period so they can continue doing their critical work of keeping all of us informed,” he wrote.
Facebook doesn’t have details right now about how the $100 million will be doled out. “We’ll be working with partners in the industry on how to best allocate this funding to serve critical needs across the local news ecosystem,” a company rep said.
Facebook’s COVID-19 Community Network grant program is already available to journalists, and some of the funds will go to publishers in the hardest hit countries, the company said. The first round of grants was disbursed to newsrooms in the U.S. and Canada.
Beneficiaries include the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.; the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau, Mo.; and El Paso Matters in Texas.
Facebook’s previous investment of $300 million is distributed through several programs and partnerships including Report for America, the Pulitzer Center, the Community News Project and the Facebook Journalism Project’s Local News Accelerator training program.
“This money will not only help keep journalists reporting right now amidst the crisis, the funding will also fuel opportunities for local media to accelerate business transformation toward a more sustainable digital footing,” said Nancy Lane, CEO of Local Media Association.