Facebook has announced a $100 million commitment in support of the news industry during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the total committed, $25 million in emergency grant funding will be awarded through the Facebook Journalism Project in support of local news outlets, while the remaining $75 million will take the form of additional marketing spend focused on moving money to news organizations around the world. The commitment builds on the $300 million that Facebook committed in 2019 in support of news programs and partnerships supporting journalists globally, including Report for America, the Pulitzer Center, the Community News Project, and the Facebook Journalism Project's Local News Accelerator training program.
The social media giant also announced a first round of grants through its COVID-19 Community Network grant program to local newsrooms in the United States and Canada. Recipients include the Post and Courier in South Carolina, which will use its grant to fund travel costs and remote work capacity in support of an expansion of coverage to undercovered and rural parts of the state; the Southeast Missourian, which will use the grant to strengthen its remote work technology and contingency plans for reaching elderly readers should distribution of its print edition be disrupted; and El Paso Matters, which will hire freelance reporters and translators and expand its coverage of the coronavirus in El Paso and across the border in Ciudad Juarez.
"Local news organizations, especially hyper-local news organizations, including those serving black and other underserved communities, have experienced challenges with the sustainability and distribution of news and information in the current media environment," said Janis Ware, publisher of the Atlanta Voice. "COVID-19 has exacerbated an already existing crisis and our jobs have just gotten tougher. With such a sizable infusion from Facebook, local news organizations across the country will benefit, as will our readers, our viewers, and our listeners."
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