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Facebook invests $3m in new European Journalism COVID-19 Support Fund

Facebook has announced it is making $3m available as a fund to help local journalism under threat in the UK and Europe.

Facebook invests $3m in new European Journalism COVID-19 Support Fund
Adam Thomas: “All over Europe, local news organisations are facing a battle for survival.” Photograph: Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

As reported by Mariella Brown on the Society of Editors website:

The Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) and the European Journalism Centre (EJC), a non-profit organisation with a history of working with publishers across the continent, announced the European Journalism COVID-19 Support Fund today (9 April).

In a statement Facebook said: “The news industry is working under extraordinary conditions to keep people informed during the COVID-19 pandemic. As people turn to local journalists for critical information on how to keep their friends, families and communities safe, these journalists are hit especially hard in the current economic crisis.”

The aim of the fund, said Facebook, is to help journalists in Europe cover important stories when we all need them most.

“EJC will direct emergency funds via the $3 million that Facebook is investing to small and mid-sized news organizations and journalists most in need in the hardest hit countries across Europe, in order to support their businesses and ongoing COVID-19 reporting in local communities.

“The EJC will decide on who receives funding based on their set criteria and administer the grants independent of Facebook; grants are not dependent on the use of Facebook tools and products. EJC will offer engagement funds to support COVID-19 reporting, emergency funds to support businesses, and innovation funds to support collaboration and technical news organisation projects with the potential to scale.”

Grants can be used for initiatives such as launching a dedicated COVID-19 newsletter, lifting a paywall, hiring more freelance journalists, or creating community groups, local-focused data reporting, online events – as well as basic continuation of work.

“All over Europe, local news organisations are facing a battle for survival,” said Adam Thomas, Director at the European Journalism Centre. “Deeply affected by the commercial impact of COVID-19, journalists are providing essential coverage with minimal resources. Without urgent support, local and community media will be unable to fight misinformation and inform citizens. The European Journalism COVID-19 Support Fund is designed to protect journalists who are working closely with their communities during this crisis.”

Subscribe via europeanjournalism.fund to get updates on when and how to apply to the grants, and to hear more about this initiative as it evolves.

This Facebook commitment builds on the $100 million to support the news industry during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the $1 million in grants for local news, $1 million in grants for fact-checking organizations, and a $1-million donation to the International Fact-Checking Network. FJP has also already committed $300 million to serving journalists around the world through diverse and inclusive news programs and partnerships.