The Newsroom business model is currently in a very precarious state. Traditional news delivery modes such newspapers and TV News are dwindling at alarming rates. And you could pinpoint the reason for this onto two of the biggest forces on the internet – Google, and Facebook. Almost every news agency has migrated to the internet and is curating content exclusively for the online viewers. As a result of this shift, local news media has taken a massive hit.
So on Tuesday, Facebook announced plans to invest $ 300 million in local news media over a span of three years. Facebook is doing this because they acknowledge the damage internet has done to the local news, and they now hope to ameliorate this declining industry.
Campbell Brown, VP of Facebook’s Global News Partnerships said that after discussing with industry experts and examining what kind of news people want to see on Facebook, they have reached a conclusion. That people want more local news, and local newsrooms are looking for more support.
We’re going to continue fighting fake news, misinformation, and low quality news on Facebook. But we also have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to help local news organizations grow and thrive.Campbell Brown
The investment will go in two areas – first is by directly supporting journalists and newsrooms in the news-gathering process by harnessing the powers of technology. And the second is by helping them build sustainable business modules, which will place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms over five years.
Some of the key recipients of these investments are – Pulitzer Center ($ 5 million), Report for America ($ 2 million), Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium ($ 1 million), and Community News Project ($ 6 million). It will also be investing over $ 20 million to expand Facebook’s Accelerator program to help local publishers with their membership and subscription models.
Fran Wills, CEO of the Local Media Consortium believes the move by Facebook will attract new advertisers. “Facebook is making this investment to help support local media companies … open up new revenue streams that will support local journalism. It’s in their best interest to have as much credible content as they can have on their platform and that’s a direct benefit to consumers, ” she said.
This is isn’t the first time Facebook’s channelling money into news organizaions. Facebook earlier invested in news companies such as Fox News and CNN, but made their services available only on Facebook and its platforms. But this time, the news coverage isn’t going to be tied to Facebook-related products.
Well, Facebook doesn’t exactly have the most stellar reputation when it comes to delivering real unbiased news. The company is still grappling with the disastrous Cambridge Analytica scandal and the fact that it curated the news feed with “fake news” specifically according to political beliefs of a user. So apart from supporting local news, Facebook sees this as an opportunity to fix its tarnished reputation as well.