Ten Brazilian media outlets were selected to participate in the Local News Accelerator, from the Facebook Journalism Project. Beginning July 29 and lasting 12 weeks, the Accelerator aims to help local news publishers make their business models more sustainable by helping them find and retain readers.

Publishers representing all regions of Brazil, from different states, are participating in the Accelerator: Gazeta do Povo (PR), O Povo (CE), Estado de Minas Gerais (MG), Correio da Bahia (BA), Gazeta de Vitória (SC), Jornal do Commercio (PE), Criticism (AM), Correio do Estado (MS) and O Popular (GO).

During the training period, media representatives will meet face-to-face and participate in webinars with experts from international newsgroups. They will also work with mentors to utilize the grants provided by the program to create their own projects.

The program was developed by former New York Times executive Tim Griggs, the Accelerator Director.

Local News in Brazil

One of the goals is to reach so-called news deserts, regions where there is scarcity of local press. Last year, Facebook supported the Atlas da Notícia, which mapped locations in the country without significant press coverage. The study found that 51% of Brazilian cities do not have local press, with a total population of 30 million people. In addition, 30% of Brazilian cities were classified as almost deserted, where there are only one or two journalistic vehicles, impacting 34 million people.

“We believe this kind of news has an important role to play in creating communities, and we want it to be a strong ecosystem with relevant stories, whether on Facebook or not,” says Sabrina Cimenti, Strategic Partnership Manager on Facebook Brazil.

The Local News Accelerator is part of Facebook’s $300 million global investment over three years to support the news partner and content production industry. The project had a pilot in the United States last year; this year, so far, trainings have been held in Germany and Canada.

The program is developed in partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), a non-profit organization that promotes quality journalism around the world. The ICFJ will offer expert mentors and other support to the participants.