The Facebook Journalism Project is investing $5 million to support diversity and entrepreneurship efforts at local newsrooms.
“Local news organizations across America are doing tremendous work under extremely challenging conditions. As COVID-19 has upended advertising revenue, local newsrooms have worked tirelessly to keep their communities informed about the pandemic, the continued fight against racial injustice, natural disasters and the upcoming U.S. election,” reads a blog post from Jason White, director of news partnerships; Dorrine Mendoza, local news partnerships; and David Grant, Accelerator program manager.
This latest investment follows the $16 million in total local news relief Facebook gave out in the spring, in response to the pandemic.
The funding will first go to local news organizations that serve “historically marginalized communities,” according to the post. Through grants and training programs, Facebook will partner with local news organizations led by and for people of color.
Facebook will also contribute to programs “that focus on the business skills individuals need to run successful, independent news organizations.”
Among a number of initiatives, a new “Sustainability Accelerator for Publishers of Color” business training program will help more than a dozen Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other news organizations of color through coaching and grants.
This Accelerator will begin accepting applications starting today; it closes September 30.
It will run from mid-October through early 2021, followed by a six-month period to execute on the grant-funded initiatives. Grants are distributed by the International Center for Journalists.
Sara Lomax-Reese is the program lead. She is CEO of WURD Radio in Philadelphia and has a 30-year career focused on Black media entrepreneurship.
For the third year, the Facebook Journalism Project will contribute to NewsMatch, which provides nonprofit news publishers that are members of the Institute for Nonprofit News with matching grants and programs.
Facebook says that 20% of its investment is specifically for news organizations in and serving communities of color.
Facebook is also supporting the Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program, a 100-day online certificate course where participants will work on developing "niche ventures into sustainable businesses."
The program will begin in October.