Facebook Provides $16M in Grants to 200 Mostly Liberal Local Newsrooms


Facebook last week announced that more than 200 news organizations will receive nearly $16 million in grants through the Facebook Journalism Project’s relief fund for local news. These grants come from $25 million in relief funding announced in March from Facebook’s $100 million global investment in news. It includes:

$10.3 million being awarded to 144 US local newsrooms as part of the COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program. The fund is supporting many publishers who are hardest hit by this crisis: nearly 80 percent of recipients are family- or independently owned and more than half are published by or for communities of color.

$5.4 million being awarded to 59 North American newsrooms that participated in Facebook Local News Accelerator programs focused on subscriptions and memberships.

Tennessee recipients were:

Daily Memphian: Memphis; grant amount: $75,000

MLK50: Justice Through Journalism: Memphis; grant amount: $72,420

Nashville Public Radio: Nashville; grant amount: $100,000

Out & About Nashville Inc.: Nashville; grant amount: $69,358

The New Tri-State Defender: Memphis; grant amount: $50,000

The remaining funds will be used in 2020 to support projects focused on longer-term sustainability in local journalism. This includes $2.5 million for Report for America, helping the group place 225 journalists in 160 local news organizations for their 2020 reporting corps.

In 2019, Facebook and Google both announced $300 million programs to aid journalism, said The Philadelphia Inquirer, which received $150,000 in the new Facebook grant. One newspaper analyst blamed the social media giants as being part of the problem.

“The amount of money is meaningful, but it doesn’t change the trajectory of the industry. So it needs to be seen in that light,” said Ken Doctor, a former newspaper industry executive who became an industry analyst. “And both Facebook and Google deserve credit for that.”

Both organizations, which are now among the richest corporations in the United States, have outgunned traditional news-gathering organizations when it comes to share of advertising. They have captured the lion’s share of the world’s advertising revenue while building a highly engaged online community around third-party news content displayed on their platforms.

Watch an “About Us” informational video by Facebook Journalism Project here.

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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.

Editors’ note: Neither The Tennessee Star nor any of the other digital newspapers in the Star News Digital Media network applied for a Facebook grant because it would be impossible to honestly cover Facebook after having accepted such a grant.





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