Story at a glance
- Mark Zuckerberg announced a large donation to local news organizations.
- This is in addition to a $300 million dollar investment plan in local newsrooms.
- He and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, recently partnered with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help develop coronavirus treatments.
Facebook announced Monday that it will be launching a $100 million initiative specifically to support local journalism and news covering the coronavirus pandemic.
“Right now journalists are working under very difficult conditions to keep their communities informed, and many news organizations are struggling due to the economic impact of the outbreak,” Zuckerberg said in an online post.
“Local news is especially hard hit, so we’re committing $25 million for emergency grant funding through the Facebook Journalism Project, and another $75 million in marketing spend to support journalists and news organizations covering the crisis.”
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The Facebook Journalism Project is a venture sponsored by Facebook to work with global publishers “to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve.” The goal is to build sustainable outlets that write about factual news that Facebook can publish on its platform.
Zuckerberg notes that this funding is separate from $300 million the organization has pledged to help fund local news organizations.
“We’re hoping this will support many journalists through this period so they can continue doing critical work of keeping us all informed,” Zuckerberg concluded.
News outlets have reported struggling to cover the virus, as reports of drops in readership threaten the existence of fragile local news outlets. Speaking to The Hill, John Stanton, founder of the Save Journalism Project and a former reporter for Buzzfeed — which recently announced salary cuts for employees in the wake of the virus — cited Facebook and Google’s “predatory and monopolistic business practices” as a threat to local news outlets.
In addition to supporting newsrooms, Zuckerberg has been on the forefront of the fight against coronavirus in the U.S. He and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, recently partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to donate another $25 million toward research on coronavirus treatments.
The Hill reports that the goal of their donation is "to fund a group to screen all the drugs that we know have potential effects against coronavirus."
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