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Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg, signaling his personal involvement in a new Facebook commitment of $100 million to bolstering local journalism, told me that "very local work" is vital to his big mission of bringing the world closer together.

What he's saying: "Everyone believes that local journalism is incredibly important," Zuckerberg told Axios in a phone interview. "But everyone is connected to their local [outlets]. Figuring out how to make an impact, and support local journalism broadly and at scale, has been a challenge."

  • "We know that a lot of journalists are working really hard under very difficult conditions, when getting accurate information is incredibly important," Zuckerberg continued. "At the same time, a lot of these organizations are struggling because of the economic impact of the outbreak."

Facebook's announcement is a much-needed cash infusion for local news businesses, which are having their business models annihilated by the coronavirus crisis, at the same time readers need them more than ever, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.

  • $25 million will be given to local news organizations in the U.S. as grants.
  • The other $75 million is being funneled to news organizations in need globally through Facebook marketing, or ad space Facebook is purchasing to market itself from those outlets.
  • This is on top of $300 million that Facebook had committed earlier.

Campbell Brown, Facebook's V.P., Global News Partnerships, writes:

  • "Over time, we think this work can have the added benefit of fostering civic engagement, which research suggests is directly correlated with people’s reading of local news."

What's next: With Facebook experiencing a massive surge in traffic, Zuckerberg said the company is moving up products on its long-term road map that'll help people maintain their social infrastructure while they can't go outside — video and group chat improvements, and online events instead of physical events.

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Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
38 mins ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

Ingenuity on the surface of Mars, filmed by NASA's Perseverance rover. Photo: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hovering the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.