54 Newsrooms and Independent Journalists Receive Funds From AUD $15M Facebook Australia News Fund

Andrew Hunter, Head of News Partnerships for Meta Australia – March 1, 2022

Meta Australia, in partnership with the Walkley Foundation, is pleased to announce the 54 news publishers and independent journalists who will be awarded AU$5M in funds from the Facebook Australia News Fund, a  AUD$15M 3 year investment. The successful recipients represent local and regional newsrooms, independent journalists from across Australia, and serve diverse communities such as First Nation peoples, LGBTQI+, regional, young adults and women. The funds will help support investment in public-interest journalism, such as rural affairs, local civic journalism, women’s issues and will also help create regional and digital newsroom innovation and economic sustainability.  

“As part of our investment in Australian news, we wanted to ensure that smaller, regional, rural and digital newsrooms were supported,” said Andrew Hunter, News Partnerships Lead for Meta Australia. “Funds are going directly towards public interest journalism as well as projects to help newsrooms grow and diversify revenue streams.  We think it’s essential that these newsrooms are economically sustainable so they can continue to tell the stories of their communities.”  

The Facebook  Australian News Fund is provided in the form of two funds, the Newsroom Sustainability Fund and the Public Interest Journalism Fund. Both funds are administered through our ongoing partnership with the Walkley Foundation, which nominated an independent external judging committee to review applications against the funds’ eligibility criteria, which included whether or not the project contributed to the news organisation’s long-term viability or provided a public benefit. News organisations that already had a content licensing agreement in place with Meta were not eligible to apply for the funds. 

“Money is going directly to the projects across Australia that our judges considered the most worthy during a rigorous arms-length assessment process,“ said Shona Martyn, CEO of the Walkley Foundation. “We received a total of 169 applications in this round. During the stringent judging process, budgets proposed by the applicants were analysed line-by-line. By offering partial funding to some projects, we ended up funding more applicants than originally envisaged. The two judging panels were looking for real need, creativity and detailed plans that could be guaranteed to deliver. The diversity of the successful applicants and the spread of awards across Australia is both encouraging and inspiring.”

“This week’s devastating floods in Queensland and northern New South Wales illustrate the importance of having a strong on-the-ground media presence in regional locations who have an intimate understanding of the area and its people,” Martyn added. 

The Newsroom Sustainability Fund will allocate AU$2.5 million, 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, 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. We are committed to providing support for Australia’s underserved communities.

Newsroom Sustainability Fund recipients

Organisation name Project description
2SER Content publishing and fundraising platform restructure
Australian Associated Press Direct to business and government newswire
Australian Jewish News News app, article archive and content partnership
Bundaberg Today Women in Agriculture lift-out
Cairns Local News Cairns Local News digital transition
Central Queensland Media Re-launch the Longreach Leader
Galah Press NSF Membership model launch
Indian Link Media Group Website rebrand and expansion of digital content
IndigenousX 10-year anniversary re-brand, studio and office equipment
National Indigenous Times First Nations Images Library
Newcastle Weekly Newcastle Weekly website overhaul
North West Farmer North West Farmer publication and website
Papers & Publications Pty Ltd Launch of Fleurieu Newsmedia
Pro Bono Australia Pro Bono News paid subscriber model
Region Group Pty Ltd “MoJo” mobile journalism equipment
Shepparton Adviser The Shepparton Adviser digital audience strategy
Shepparton Newspapers Pty Ltd Launch of a custom news app
South Burnett Today South West Queensland Leader launch
Star News Group Pilot project for hyperlocal e-newsletter service
TBW Today Pty Ltd Re-launch the South Eastern Times
The Daily Aus Reader polling technology
The Illawarra Flame Merger of three print services into single digital edition
Wimmera Mallee News Pty Ltd Virtual Editorial Portal with automatic article uploading

 

Public Interest Journalism Fund recipients

Organisation name Project description
2SER Re-launch of Razor’s Edge,a Sydney-based current affairs show
Australian Associated Press Week-long news-gathering missions in remote locations
Blank Gold Coast Boosting online output, social media and coverage of women
Burdekin Local News Newsroom expansion with two part-time journalists
Cairns Local News Editorial Funding a cadet journalist placement
Catherine Scott Trafficking Jam podcast series on the impact of sex trafficking laws
Coonabarabran Times Hire a part-time Indigenous affairs reporter
Diamond Valley Enterprises Journalists – High Country Herald & Western Downs Town and Country
Ethnic Broadcasting Association  Queensland t/a Radio 4EB Creation of radio, podcast and in-language explainers for non-English speaking audiences
First Nations Media Australia Indigenous stringer journalist network
Harry Clarke – Country Caller Expanding Toowoomba news service to cover regional Queensland
Ian Kenins Small towns at the post-Covid crossroads and other long form projects
IndigenousX Public Interest Journalism Fund Debunking video series aimed at mythbusting commonly-held misconceptions about Indigenous people.
John van Tiggelen Various long-form journalism projects
Murray Bridge News Murraylands’ stories on poverty and the housing crisis
National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council (NEMBC) National Multilingual News Service
National Indigenous Times National Indigenous News remote stringer journalist network
Navin Sam Regi Royal Commission into Aged Care report
Ninti Media Kangaroo Island timber plantation controversy
Pakenham Gazette Family violence news project – a monthly liftout and web article series
PRIMER Hiring a violence against women reporter
Roundbox Media Connecting Rural Communities
Rural Review Expanding news coverage to all of southern Queensland
Saltgrass Podcast Develop a marketing and subscription plan
Susanna Freymark The expansion of hyperlocal digital service, IndyNR
The Express Part-time hire of a cadet journalist
Truepenny Media The Point News Site for reporting on environmental, social and governance issues
Western Plains App Combined app for several local newspapers and radio stations

 

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