Facebook wants to give local journalism a boost through its newsletter platform

·3-min read
Bulletin, the Facebook newsletter service, can offer both free and paid content.

Newsletters are all the rage in the world of media and social networks. After announcing a $5 million grant to support local independent journalism, Facebook has unveiled new initiatives in this area. The social network has just announced a million dollar envelope for grants to outlets in Argentina and support for writers.

While Twitter is starting to highlight newsletters on its platform with its new tool, Facebook is making sure it's not left out of the newsletter trend. Launched at the end of June, Facebook's newsletter service called Bulletin continues to be promoted as a tool for local journalism according to Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg's social network has just announced the arrival of 25 new freelance journalists on its newsletter service, this August 19: "Today, we are pleased to share the 25 writers selected from the application process with our partners the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)," outlined Facebook .

While the community platform was delighted to highlight the arrival of these new collaborators, it also took the opportunity to announce services designed to help all authors improve their newsletters. To do this, Facebook has unveiled its partnership with Inbox Collective, a consulting firm led by Dan Oshinsky, former head of newsletter strategy at The New Yorker and Buzzfeed. A collaboration that will allow writers to get free advice to improve their strategies for their newsletter as well as to take advantage of personalized recommendations. "As Bulletin rolls out, we look forward to building more tools and services that suit independent writers' needs," outlined Facebook. "With access to these services and the tools Bulletin offers for creating content, building engaged audiences, and generating revenue, we can better support writers in their efforts to build independent businesses, in turn helping them serve their communities and give people the local information so essential to their lives," the social network added.

From the United States to Argentina

In addition to this collaboration, Facebook announced new partnerships with the City University of New York (CUNY) and its journalism school the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism: "The CUNY Jumpstart Program for Local Writers is an intensive course designed to jump start participants on the path to building a sustainable, independent business," explained the platform.

And the Mark Zuckerberg-led company didn't stop at these announcements. It was in Argentina that the platform decided to donate $1 million to help local journalism: "As we continue our efforts to support news media to accelerate their digital transformation, and build sustainable business models in Argentina, we are excited to announce "Impulso local," in partnership with Asociación de Entidades Periodísticas Argentinas (Adepa) and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the collaboration of Asociación de Diarios del Interior de la República Argentina (Adira). This program will promote and support local journalism in Argentina, and the Facebook Journalism Project will fund grants for up to $1 million," indicated the American giant. "With the purpose of strengthening the local media ecosystem through training and mentorships in the areas of content, business, technology, audience and digital products, the program will offer grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to 100 hyperlocal, local and regional outlets in Argentina," said Facebook .

To be eligible, local news organizations will have to demonstrate at least two years of existence, original production and regular "general information news". Consulting support on digital transformation, business and innovation will also be offered.

Many local news organizations have suffered because of the covid-19 pandemic. Facebook, often accused of participating in the spread of false information, is hoping these initiatives will help restore its image and capitalize on its audience.

Sabrina Alili

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