Today, the Facebook Journalism Project is excited to announce the expansion of our Local News Accelerator program to Australia and New Zealand. Launched in partnership with the Walkley Foundation, program will convene 11 publishers from September to December in Sydney, and support their efforts to boost direct reader revenue through subscriptions, memberships, and one-off payments.

The Accelerator provides platform-agnostic training, coaching, and project funding for news organizations to connect with — and monetize — their audiences on and off Facebook. Participating publishers include News Corp, Australian Community Media, The Guardian, The Conversation, Crikey, The West Australian, Solstice Media, Schwartz Media, and New Zealand publishers The New Zealand Herald, The Spinoff, and Newsroom.

The Facebook Accelerator Program began in 2018 as a three-month pilot program in the United States to work with metro newspapers to elevate their digital subscription business strategies. Building on the success of previous Accelerators in North America, Latin America, and Germany, the Australia and New Zealand Accelerator will take place in two parts.

The first stage will be a three-month curriculum of hands-on workshops led by news industry experts and global media leaders, who will share best-in-practice reader revenue strategies and tactics. New publishers will also be invited to face-to-face meetings at Facebook’s Sydney office. In the second stage, each publisher will receive funding to test and implement new reader revenue strategies that they will develop with coaches. Grants will be administered by the Walkley Foundation.

“The Walkley Foundation is committed to fostering resilience and growth in the industry in practical, measurable ways,” said Louisa Graham, chief executive of the Walkley Foundation.  “Facebook’s Accelerator Program is designed to support Australian newsrooms in maximizing new revenue streams. This will ultimately allow news organizations to continue their important work and report on the issues that matter to Australian society.”

The Local News Accelerator is part of FJP’s ongoing efforts to provide tools and trainings to news publishers, and to ensure our platform connects people to the quality, trusted, and local news that is most important to them.

The Accelerator Program
The Facebook Journalism Project’s Accelerator Program helps news publishers build sustainable businesses. Funded and organized by the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP), each Accelerator  includes a three-month period of hands-on workshops led by news industry veterans, grants administered by non-profit journalism organizations, and regular reports on best business practices. The Accelerator’s executive director is Tim Griggs, an independent consultant/advisor and former New York Times and Texas Tribune executive.

For monthly updates on the Accelerator Program, sign up for the FJP newsletter.