Sep 15, 2020 - Economy

Exclusive: Facebook invests $5 million in newsroom diversity efforts

An illustration of a Facebook fist holding money.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook is investing $5 million in programs for newsrooms of color and entrepreneurial journalism, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: The investment comes amid tensions between Facebook and civil rights leaders over the prevalence of hate speech and misinformation on its platform.

  • It's also launching an "Accelerator" program, a business training program for journalists, for publishers of color, led by Sara Lomax-Reese, the CEO of WURD Radio in Philadelphia, alongside Tim Griggs, the Accelerator’s executive director.

Details: The company will invest in local news organizations that serve historically marginalized communities through grants and training programs. It’s specifically looking to partner with local newsrooms led by and for people of color. It's also looking to invest in programs that focus on the business skills needed to run independent news organizations.

  • The Facebook Journalism Project will commit 20% of its annual investments in NewsMatch, a program for nonprofit newsrooms, specifically for news organizations serving communities of color.
  • It will help fund the Robert C. Maynard Institute’s Digital Education Initiative, which trains local news companies to ensure that diversity is represented in new media.
  • It's also using the funds to help launch the Entrepreneurial Journalism Creators Program with CUNY, and invest in trainings for local outlets via the Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium.

What's next: The Accelerator program will begin accepting applications starting Sept. 15th, and will close on Sept. 30. Facebook will host a webinar for those interested in participating September 23rd.

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