Facebook launches $5m Australian journalism package

Social media giant Facebook has launched a $5m program that will see the company setting up a scheme to fund publisher’s innovation projects along with a partnership with the Walkley Foundation.

The program, part of the US$300m global scheme launched by Facebook last month, comes after the Google News Initiative launched in Australia and announced its own partnership with the Walkley Foundation.

Facebook’s Andrew Hunter announced a range of programs under the social media’s services new journalism initiative

Launching in the second half of this year, the program will see Facebook bring their Journalism Project News Accelerator to Australia. The accelerator will see the Walkley Foundation provide training, mentoring and funding for newsroom staff launching new technology projects.

Andrew Hunter, Facebook’s head of news partnerships for Australia and New Zealand, also announced the social media service would be sponsoring a number of the Walkley events.

“In addition to the accelerator, we are furthering our support of Australia’s journalism community through the sponsorship of the Walkley Awards and the Foundation’s mid-year awards recognising women leaders and emerging talent in media,” Hunter said.

“We are also contributing to the Foundation’s upcoming media literacy pilot program for Australian secondary school students.”

Louisa Graham, Walkley Foundation CEO, added: “The Walkley Foundation for journalism welcomes this commitment to Australian news as part of Facebook’s wider support for the global news industry.

“We work to celebrate and encourage great journalism, and to help all Australians recognise its power to make our nation and our society stronger. We look forward to working with Facebook to boost school students’ media literacy skills and newsroom innovation in 2019 and beyond.”

Along with the Walkley package, Facebook announced it would partner with
the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom to support its work to promote media freedom in the Asia-Pacific region and the right of journalists to report news safely.

Founded earlier this year by journalist and academic Peter Greste, communications consultant Peter Wilkinson and Gilbert+Tobin partner Chris Flynn, the AJF promotes press freedom and address ongoing threats to the freedom of the media in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific.

Greste, director of AJP said, “I welcome the Facebook Journalism Project’s generous support for the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom. With media freedom increasingly under assault across the region, this partnership is incredibly timely. It will help the Alliance support and advocate for journalists throughout the Asia Pacific, so they can report and investigate freely and safely.”

Hunter concluded: “In the months ahead, we will also be supporting our news partners with seed funding to experiment with video.

“We believe society is best served by a robust, diverse and sustainable media industry. As a committed partner in the Australian ecosystem, we will continue to support journalists and news organisations in their important work.”


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