Facebook Commits USD 300 Mn To Local Journalism Development

By  |  January 16, 2019

To fulfill its longstanding promise to revive journalism, Facebook will be investing USD 300 Mn to help in the survival of local news. This pledge comes in the wake of blistering global criticisms over the tech giant’s role in the erosion of the news business worldwide.

Good News For Local News

Over the next three years, Facebook will be pumping funds in local news programs, partnerships, and other journalism-related initiatives. The USD 300 Mn will go towards reporting grants for local newsrooms, expanding the media giant’s program to help them with subscription business models. Facebook will also invest in nonprofits aimed at supporting local news.

The announcement couldn’t’ have picked a better time to surface, as the news industry faces a litany of difficulties currently – failures in profits and print readership. Facebook, like Google, has been blamed for the ongoing decline in newspapers’ share of the ad dollars because people and advertisers have moved online.

Facebook And Google?

Just ten months ago, Google said it was going to spend USD 300 Mn over three years to support journalism. According to Facebook, it is a mere coincidence that it had landed the same dollar amount which its major competitor landed just last year. While it is a welcome, swell idea for both media giants to spend millions for the good of journalism, it is yet debated in some circles whether it is a head-to-head between both parties.

Facebook and Google are the dominators of online ads marketing, making it a difficulty for most digital publishers to land meaningful profits from their own online ads. Unless both titans are willing to fuel more than what they have cumulatively promised to subsidize news outlets, they will likely take more from publishers than routing back to them.

It appears the Silicon Valley giants are under increasing and unrelenting media scrutiny for their misdeeds and shortcomings, which both makes this tension awkward-like and pushes the tech companies to further search for some goodwill.

Facebook Up For A Good Cause?

Facebook, since 2018, has increased its focus on local news, as evident in its move to generally de-emphasize news stories and videos in people’s feeds on the social network in favor of posts from their friends. The company has also been simultaneously, cautiously testing the ways it can boost local news stories users have interest in, and initiatives to support the broader industry.

“Today In’ was launched by the company to show its users local news information, including missing-person alerts, road closures, crime reports, and school announcements. This it expanded to hundreds of cities around the United States and a few in Australia.

USD 5 Mn of the investment is a grant to the nonprofit Pulitzer Center, to enable it launch “Bringing Stories Home”, a fund that will provide local US newsrooms with reporting grants to bolster coverage of local developments. USD 2 Mn will also be invested in Report For America as part of a collaboration tailored place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms across the country over the next five years.

With Facebook’s recent investments in Africa, including Andela’s USD 24 Mn, it would seem Mark Zuckerberg is truly devoted to making an impact anyway possible.

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