Priority will be given to eligible independent newsrooms, says Facebook

Local newsrooms in Canada covering the coronavirus are eligible for grants of up to $5,000 from the Facebook Journalism Project Community Pool Network.

The rapid evolution of the COVID-19 public health crisis comes with substantial costs to already stretched newsrooms and the media workers on the frontlines reporting critical public interest stories. The grants are intended to fill emergency gaps and help journalists for local newsrooms, staff and freelance, cover costs, such as “tools to work remotely, increases in coverage to inform communities and to combat misinformation, and other costs associated with serving vulnerable and at-risk communities,” according to the Facebook Journalism Project.

News Media Canada and the Independent News Challenge, led by the Discourse founder and CEO Erin Millar, are consulting with Facebook on reaching rural and remote newsrooms.

“We’re glad to support a project that will help Canadian freelancers and small publishers provide the essential news that is so needed by communities during this public health crisis,” said Millar. “It is critical we ensure news media are able to serve communities that are most vulnerable.”

Facebook, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association have partnered to make up to $1 million in grants available to support newsrooms in both Canada and the United States.

“Given the current climate this initiative is more important than ever to help Canadian newsrooms cover the impact of the coronavirus in their local communities. We all want to ensure that Canadians have access to trusted information and we would encourage all Canadian media outlets to apply,” said John Hinds, CEO of News Media Canada.

The Facebook Journalism Project lists eligibility criteria on its website:

  • Grants may be requested by for-profit or nonprofit local news organizations in the US and Canada
  • Grants may be requested by freelance individuals with established working relationships with a nonprofit or for-profit news organization in the US and Canada
  • Submissions will be prioritized based on the following criteria:
    • Publishers who are serving and need resources for coverage focused on and/or for at-risk communities
    • Small publishers, including independent, family-owned and/or hyperlocal newsrooms
    • Organizations in need of tools to work remotely and cover the situation in a safe manner
    • Organizations looking to increase and/or expand their coverage to combat misinformation within their local communities
  • Project proposals do not require the use of Facebook’s tools or platforms
  • Applicants agree that if they are awarded a grant, Lenfest, LMA and Facebook can use information provided in the initial application and subsequent reporting form to share lessons with other local news organizations
  • Grant applications must be submitted through the Lenfest Institute website during the open call period
  • News organizations are eligible for a single $5,000 grant. Priority is given to independent news sites that meet the stated criteria
  • Grant recipients agree to participate in a survey to capture results and feedback

To apply, visit the Facebook Journalism Project’s website.