On Wednesday, Facebook announced the first round of grant recipients for what it is calling its Facebook Journalism Project Community Network. The 23 media outlets who will receive the money—between $5,000 and $25,000 per newsroom—were chosen by Facebook’s partner: the Lenfest Institute, a non-profit entity set up by former cable magnate Gerry Lenfest in part to finance the continued operation of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. Facebook said in a news release about the grant program that the winners “include a fresh approach to business sustainability through community-funded journalism, and expansion of successful storytelling events shown to increase reader revenue.”
Being a small, community-focused media outlet has never been easy, but it has gotten increasingly difficult of late, as the print advertising business has crashed and digital advertising has been squeezed. So it’s not surprising that startups and hyperlocal players like the ones chosen to receive Facebook’s largesse would celebrate their victory, since the company’s funding will allow them to do things they otherwise couldn’t—including, perhaps, keep the lights on. But there is an elephant in the room: namely, the fact that Facebook is one of the main reasons the media industry is in such desperate straits in the first place, since it controls a significant share of the ad market, and the attention of billions of daily users.
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/facebook-local-journalism.php