Applications open for Facebook’s $15m public interest journalism and newsroom fund

Applications have opened for Facebook’s A$15 million Australian News Fund as the social media giant pledges to invest in public interest journalism.

Facebook, which last month told several Australian publishers, including SBS, that it has stopped negotiating licensing deals, said the fund will also support small, regional and digital newsroom innovation and economic sustainability.

The $15 million, first announced in August, will be split between The Newsroom Sustainability Fund and The Public Interest Journalism Fund, both over three years.

Applications open today at the Walkley Foundation website and close on November 26.

The Newsroom Sustainability Fund will allocate $2.5 million per year, in grants of up to $250,000 to fund newsroom products and revenue-related projects.

Priority will be given to entrants that are based in a regional area, or serving local communities, or digital-only publications, Facebook said.

Meanwhile, the Public Interest Journalism Fund will also allocate $2.5 million per year, providing grants of up to $120,000 to invest in public interest journalism and encourage media diversity.

It will support small, regional newsrooms and independent journalists, as well as newsrooms covering under-served communities.

Eligible Australian-based newsrooms and journalists can apply to either or both funds.

The Walkley Foundation will nominate an independent external judging committee to review applications with winners to be announced before the end of March 2022.

Earlier in the year Facebook and the Australian Government came to loggerheads over the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, which saw Facebook remove all news site posts from its platform for Australian users.

The led to amendments to the code which was later passed by parliament.

Since then Facebook has signed deals with Australian publishers and news outlets worth multimillions of dollars for news sharing on the platform.


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