The news industry has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Facebook, through its Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) and other channels, announced it will invest $100 million to support the industry, with an emphasis on local news, as the pandemic continues.
In a blog post by Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships Campbell Brown, the preliminary details of the investment were laid out. There is $25 million in emergency grant funding for local news to be distributed by the FJP and $75 million in additional marketing spend to be used to move money to global news organizations.
“At a time when journalism is needed more than ever, ad revenues are declining due to the economic impact of the virus,” Campbell wrote. “Local journalists are being hit especially hard, even as people turn to them for critical information to keep their friends, families and communities safe.”
The $25 million local news investment follows the launch of Facebook’s COVID-19 Community Network grant program last week.
The grant program announced the first 50 newsrooms to receive a $5,000 to support COVID-19 coverage. Newsrooms have used the grants to drop paywalls around coronavirus stories, create newsletters to keep readers informed and hire reporters and editors to support the bolstered efforts.
“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,” Nancy Lane, CEO of Local Media Association, stated in the post.
Among those newsrooms receiving support are CapitolHillSeattle.com in Seattle, WA, Sentinel Colorado in Aurora, CO, Watertown Daily Times in Watertown, NY and Santa Cruz Local in Santa Cruz, CA.
Brown stated: “If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they're getting it now. And while almost all businesses are facing adverse financial effects from this crisis, we recognize we're in a more privileged position than most, and we want to help.”