Facebook has announced both the launch of a AU$15 million news fund and the expansion of Facebook News to Australia.
The Facebook Australian News Fund will invest in public-interest journalism, and support regional and digital newsroom innovation and economic sustainability. The support will be provided in the form of two funds; the Newsroom Sustainability Fund and the Public Interest Journalism Fund.
The Newsroom Sustainability Fund will allocate AU$2.5 million per year over three years, in grants of up to AU$250,000 to fund regional newsrooms and digital-first publications. Funding will go towards innovation and revenue-generating projects, such as subscription paywalls and membership program development.
The Public Interest Journalism Fund will also allocate AU$2.5 million per year over three years, providing grants of up to AU$120,000, to small, regional publishers and independent journalists to fund news projects of public interest value and to encourage media diversity.
“This investment will help publishers and independent journalists producing news of public interest value across Australia. It will also support smaller, regional, rural and digital newsrooms as they develop new products and strategies to expand reach and revenue,” Facebook says.
The company also announced that Facebook News will begin to roll out to a small number of Australians. “This phased launch will ensure the product works in a way that provides benefit to Australian audiences and publishers.” Facebook is planning to expand Facebook News to more Australians through the coming months.