Facebook donates GBP 4.5 million to UK Community News Project

Facebook donates GBP 4.5 million to UK Community News Project

The US company said on Monday it recognized the role it played in how people got their news today and it wanted to do more to support local publishers.

Facebook will donate £4.5m to support roughly 80 trainee journalists in newsrooms across the United Kingdom in a bid to plug the gap caused by the decline of local media.

Local newspapers were hit hard by the move to online news, as many advertisers switched from print to online, including on Facebook, which made it difficult for papers to afford enough reporters to fully cover their communities.

FACEBOOK has teamed up with news organisations including The Northern Echo publisher Newsquest to fund a £4.5m initiative to boost journalism in local communities.

It's the first project of its kind by Facebook, a spokesperson told CNN Business, though Facebook has previously launched projects in the United States to help local news outlets increase their digital subscription rates and has previously donated to non-profit news organizations.

The scheme is being overseen by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Facebook donates GBP 4.5 million to UK Community News Project

The community journalists will have access to a full training programme from the NCTJ, while working.

"The funding will help us pioneer new ways of local news gathering and distributing stories to underserved communities".

Some 228 local newspapers folded in Britain between 2005 and 2017, according to the Press Gazette, many of them closed by the publishers involved in the Facebook scheme. Specifically, the money will be used to recruit and train a total of 80 prospective journalists, from a "range" socioeconomic backgrounds.

"The NCTJ cares deeply about the number, quality and diversity of journalists working in our local communities", said NCTJ executive Joanne Butcher.

"We are very proud to support the sustainability of quality local journalism by overseeing the recruitment of additional local news journalists from diverse and inclusive backgrounds and by ensuring they are properly trained and qualified".

Facebook said the official application process will open in early 2019 as the NCTJ and the British publishers will run promotional campaigns in United Kingdom universities across the country to recruit more young people for a career in journalism.

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