Last year, we worked to better understand what kind of news people want to see on Facebook. We’ve also asked our partners in the news industry how we can better work with them to make a real impact.
We heard one consistent answer: people want more local news, and local newsrooms are looking for more support. That’s why today we’re announcing an expanded effort around local news in the years ahead.
There are two key areas where we hope to help: supporting local journalists and newsrooms with their newsgathering needs in the immediate future; and helping local news organizations build sustainable business models, through both our product and partnership work. Over time, we think this work can have the added benefit of fostering civic engagement, which research suggests is directly correlated with people’s reading of local news.
Over the next three years, we will invest $300 million in news programs, partnerships and content. Among the components:
- Pulitzer Center
A $5 million endowment gift to launch “Bringing Stories Home,” a gift that will provide local newsrooms across the country with reporting grants to foster coverage on topics that affect local communities. Each year, the fund will support at least 12 local in-depth, multimedia reporting projects, plus related community outreach. This gift will also unlock an additional $5 million matching gift from Emily Rauh Pulitzer, chair of the Pulitzer Center.
- Report for America
A $2 million investment in the initiative to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms across America over the next five years.
- Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund
A $1 million investment in this fund will be dedicated to a news innovation and technology hub that is being created to help evaluate and improve how technology is used in U.S. newsrooms for newsgathering, product development and sustainable business models. The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced in September an initial $20 million, five-year commitment to this fund dedicated to strengthening local journalism in the digital age.
- Local Media Association (LMA) & Local Media Consortium (LMC)
A $1 million investment across the two organizations to help more than 2,000 local member newsrooms better understand, develop and implement revenue streams through branded content both on and off Facebook.
- American Journalism Project
A $1 million commitment to this first-of-its-kind journalism enterprise, which will grow and sustain local civic news organizations through venture philanthropy.
- Community News Project
A $6 million project, announced at the end of 2018, partnering with some of the biggest regional publishers in the United Kingdom – Reach, Newsquest, JPI, Archant, Midland News Association and the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) to recruit trainee ‘community journalists’ and place them in local newsrooms over a two-year period.
We are also expanding our Accelerator pilot, which launched in the United States in 2018 to help local newsrooms with subscription and membership models. This year, we’ll commit over $20 million to continue the local Accelerator in the United States and to expand the model globally, including in Europe. This is among the first investments we’ll be making to support local news organizations and we will continue to look for partnership opportunities as we build out our teams internationally.
Lastly, we’re going to hold a two-day “Accelerate: Local News” summit early this year devoted to local news, in partnership with Knight Foundation and the Online News Association. Our goal is to bring together top local US news organization leaders, entrepreneurs, technologists and funders to discuss, design and drive towards solutions that address today’s most pressing local news challenges.
News is a key part of Facebook’s mission to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. We’re going to continue fighting fake news, misinformation, and low quality news on Facebook. But we also have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to help local news organizations grow and thrive.
We know we can’t do it alone, but there is more we can and will do to help.