Facebook has announced a $5 million investment in the Australian news ecosystem as part of its ongoing support for the industry.
The commitment includes a partnership with the Walkley Foundation to bring the Facebook Journalism Project News Accelerator to Australia.
The program provides training, coaching and project funding for news organisations, to help them connect with and monetise their audiences both on and off Facebook.
It will launch in Australia later this year, hosting teams from newsrooms who will build on the expertise and best practices developed during the pilot US accelerators in 2018.
Similar to the American program, participants will work with program coaches, and then design individual projects that tackle their unique business needs.
Funding will be administered by the Walkey Foundation in order to empower each publisher to implement solutions that will help grow their business.
Facebook will also sponsor the Walkley Awards and the Foundation’s mid-year celebration that showcases courage, independence, creativity and emerging talent in Australian journalism.
In addition, Facebook will contribute to the Foundation’s upcoming media literacy pilot program for Australian secondary school students.
Walkley Foundation CEO Louisa Graham said: “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”.
Facebook has also announced its partnership with the newly formed Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom (AJF) to support its work to promote media freedom in the Asia-Pacific region and the right of journalists to report news safely.
AJF director Professor Peter Greste 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”.
Facebook head of news partnership Andrew Hunter said of the announcement: “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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