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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook will announce on Tuesday two new efforts to help support newsrooms and fact-checkers in efforts to promote quality information about the coronavirus.

By the numbers: Facebook will donate $1 million to local newsrooms to help them cover the crisis and $1 million to fact-checkers' efforts reviewing news coverage for virus misinformation.

Why it matters: The tech giant is trying to be proactive in how it supports the news media in times of crisis. The company has pledged over $300 million to date towards news projects over the course of three years.

Details: The Facebook Journalism Project is partnering with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association (LMA) to offer a total of $1 million in grants to local news outlets covering the coronavirus in North America.

  • The grants will help newsrooms cover unexpected costs associated with coronavirus reporting, such as tools to help local journalists work remotely and increases in coverage to inform communities about the virus' local spread.
  • The grants are small, up to just $5,000 each, but are meant to serve as short-term relief to understaffed and under-equipped newsrooms. They come from a pool within Facebook's Journalism Project called its Community Network that gives out grants of up to $25,000 to local newsrooms 3 times per year.

Facebook is also launching a $1 million grant program to support fact-checkers during the coronavirus crisis in conjunction with Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). (Facebook already partners with fact-checkers certified by IFCN to do fact-checking.)

  • The grant will help fact-checkers increase their capacity during the coronavirus crisis and will help pay for the translation of fact checks from native languages to different languages. It will also help fact-checkers find better ways to communicate their findings to the public and work with public and health care authorities. 
  • “The fact-checking community has been working very hard, day and night, since January to point out falsehoods about the new coronavirus. Social media platforms have a responsibility to combat this type of misinformation, it is great to see that Facebook is willing to support the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance," said Cristina Tardáguila, the IFCN's Associate Director and the coordinator of the COVID-19 collaborative project, in a statement.

The bottom line: “Covering coronavirus at the local level is a struggle for many small-to mid-size publishers who are already resource-challenged,” said Nancy Lane, CEO of the Local Media Association. “These grants will go a long way to help them provide vital information to their communities."

Go deeper: Facebook steps up effort to fight coronavirus misinformation

Go deeper

J&J and Merck to partner for COVID vaccine production to boost supply

Empty vials that contained a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the COVID-19. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will announce Tuesday that pharmaceutical giant Merck will help Johnson & Johnson manufacture its newly authorized coronavirus vaccine to boost supply, a senior administration official tells Axios.

The big picture: The development has the potential to vastly increase supply, possibly doubling what the J&J could make on its own, the official said. The company has run into challenges while trying to expand its vaccine production to a global scale.

Casinos throw cash at sports betting media

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Casinos are investing millions on sports betting content to lure bettors to their online and in-person sportsbooks.

Why it matters: It’s a mini gold rush for some sports media companies that were struggling in the pandemic.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
15 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Global carbon emissions rebound to pre-COVID levels

Newly released data show that global CO2 emissions had returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of last year and surpassed them in some major economies.

Why it matters: The International Energy Agency warned that clean energy efforts are falling short.

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