Social media giant Facebook has pledged to invest $100 million in the news industry to promote journalism during the ongoing Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
The Verge reports that tech giant Facebook has pledged to invest $100 million in the news industry to promote journalism during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A new venture called the Facebook Journalism Project will be providing $25 million in grant funding for local news while the remaining $75 million will come in the form of “additional marketing spend” to news organizations across the world.
Publishers are reportedly expected to be hit hard by the economic effect of the coronavirus pandemic with advertising revenue that many publishers rely on being cut significantly due to financial uncertainty. Ad research firm eMarketer has lowered its growth projections for worldwide media ad spend by 3 percent while Reuters reported that the virus could cost the U.S. advertising industry billions of dollars in lost revenue.
However, high-quality and accurate reporting is vital during the coronavirus pandemic as misinformation surrounding the virus spreads. Facebook stated in its press release: “If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they’re getting it now. And while almost all businesses are facing adverse financial effects from this crisis, we recognize we’re in a more privileged position than most, and we want to help.”
Campbell Brown, the company’s VP Global News Partnerships, announced the news in an online post stating: “Through the COVID-19 Community Network grant program, direct funding is helping journalists cover important stories when we all need them most. We’re building on this work and will direct a portion of these funds to publishers most in need in the hardest hit countries.”
Facebook announced the first round of grants last week, when it said that it would be giving $5,000 to 50 local newsrooms across the United States and Canada to help cover “unexpected costs” associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Janis Ware, publisher of the Atlanta Voice, which is benefiting from a grant stated: “Local news organizations, especially hyper-local news organizations including those serving black and other underserved communities, have experienced challenges with the sustainability and distribution of news and information in the current media environment. COVID-19 has exacerbated an already existing crisis and our jobs have just gotten tougher. With such a sizable infusion from Facebook, local news organizations across the country will benefit as will our readers, our viewers and our listeners.”