Today, Facebook Canada is launching its Local News Accelerator program and bringing together the first cohort of eleven publishers from across the country participating in the program. As announced in February 2019, the initiative represents a $2.5 million investment in Canada’s news ecosystem and is part of Facebook’s ongoing global efforts to support journalists, academics, and news organizations across the globe to advance journalism and help develop sustainable business models — both off and on our platforms.

The first wave of Local News Accelerator participants includes:

Throughout the 12-week program, we are bringing together industry experts and providing tools, resources and training focused on digital audience development, with the goal of helping publishers find new ways to connect with their audiences and creative ways to monetize their businesses. Publishers will design individual projects tackling their unique business needs working with coaches with deep expertise in the digital media business.

The program will culminate in Menlo Park, California where publishers will share their news innovation concepts at Facebook headquarters. Enabling publishers across the country – and beyond – to benefit from the strategies workshopped during the program, we will share key learnings and case studies from the first Canadian cohort.

Grant funding will empower each publisher to implement strategies created during the program. We are partnering with the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) – a non-profit organization that promotes Canadian journalism and journalistic achievement – to administer grants to local news publishers. These grants are designed to help the participating publishers put ideas from the Accelerator into practice.

Canadian Journalism Foundation logo

“From current events to community news and politics, local news publishers provide citizens with the resources and information they need to make critical decisions for themselves and their families,” said Natalie Turvey, president and executive director, CJF. “We are committed to supporting local news innovation, and we’re excited to partner with Facebook and local news publishers to bring this program to life in Canada.”

To ensure that the program reflects the unique needs of Canadian local news publishers, we teamed up with CJF to collaboratively build a cohort of 11 participating publishers. Participating publishers hail from across Canada, and include the Winnipeg Free Press, Village Media, Daily Hive, and Le Soleil.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of Facebook’s Local News Accelerator program in Canada and welcome the chance to share insights with our peers from across the country. For more than a decade, Daily Hive has been connecting readers with their city to foster a closer relationship with one another, and we’re constantly working to modernize journalism for the internet,” said Farhan Mohamed, editor-in-chief and partner, Daily Hive. “Having the opportunity to come up with new ways to engage with and develop our audience is something we’re all excited for.”

Broadening our efforts to support news innovation, we are also investing in programs that help publishers develop sustainable business models, both off and on of Facebook, so they can continue to do work that’s critical to a healthy democratic society. The Local News Accelerator program complements ongoing efforts in Canada such as supporting our news partners with seed funding to experiment with video, and training opportunities for journalists across the country.

Canadians expect relevant, quality news on Facebook and so do we. The launch of Facebook Local News Accelerator in Canada is one part of our commitment to high-quality, fact-based content across our family of apps. We are committed to exploring what we can build together with our partners to support local news, and will continue to invest in local news in Canada.