Facebook sets up $5 million fund to help local journalists build an audience

Facebook app being opened on a smartphone showing the top area of its News Feed highlighting Faceboo

Facebook's major commitment to journalism kicked off in 2019 when it tested a new destination on its platform dedicated to news content. The new feature, called Facebook News, complements articles that regularly show up on your news feed.

Today, the social media titan announced a $5 million fund to further its assistance to journalists and writers. The new fund will be used to pay multi-year licensing fees to local journalists, in particular, with the goal of helping them expand their audience.

Under the program, independent writers will have access to a new platform announced by Facebook in March to help journalists create email newsletters for free and grow their business. That platform is baked into Facebook Pages, where writers can decide on their own subscription prices.

Local journalists in the U.S. can start to apply for this opportunity from today until May 20. The initiative is courtesy of a partnership between Facebook, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). The nonprofits will also form part of the team that will evaluate the applications. Facebook is giving priority to journalists who cover "Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian or other audiences of color” as well as those who live in areas with no presence of any media companies.

In return, writers must commit to publish content on a regular basis with a focus on local communities using Facebook’s tools and interact with their audience via Facebook Groups and live discussions. The social networking site will also solicit feedback to improve the platform.

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