Facebook has announced that it will spend $5 million paying local journalists on a new publishing platform. Independent journalists are eligible to begin applying for the program today, according to Reuters.
The company’s strategy is to prioritize reporters in areas without an existing news source. Those areas are sometimes called “news deserts” and Facebook is prioritizing those who cover “Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian or other audiences of color”.
Facebook had launched its new local news platform in March 2021. The platform has a self-publishing tool that’ll enable reporters to launch newsletters and charge for subscriptions. It also has the ability to integrate with existing features like Facebook pages and groups. Facebook plans to strike multiyear deals with selected journalists, who can earn more money through subscriptions, according to Reuters.
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During the launch, Facebook had called the platform an option for “independent local journalists who are often the lone voice covering a given community”. It however now provides competition for newsletter provider, Substack.
Substack launched a $1 million initiative called Substack Local earlier in April, with plans to select up to 30 local news reporters to receive one-year advances of up to $100,000.
Facebook had announced a similar $5 million investment in local news programs last year. It had also previously paid national news outlets to publish content on its social network. This time it’s choosing to skip working with big outlets, opting for smaller independent journalists.
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