THE Gippsland Times is one of 17 newsrooms in regional Australia to secure financial support from the Facebook Journalism Project COVID-19 News Relief Fund Program.
The funding will support newsrooms in projects that build publishers’ long-term financial sustainability, and is part of Facebook Journalism Project’s $2 million investment in projects, coaching and training designed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and maintain the long-term viability of newsrooms in the Asia Pacific region.
The judges selected the projects on the basis of organisational need, public interest and impact.
Many of the winning submissions include long-term opportunities for increasing the reach and distribution of regional journalism and new ways to open up advertising and subscriber revenue.
Facebook Australia and New Zealand news partnerships lead Andrew Hunter said local news was an essential service that was more important than ever as journalists strove to chronicle their communities’ responses to COVID-19.
“The coronavirus has had a devastating effect on many of the rural and local commercial enterprises that pay for news by advertising,” he said.
“These funds will go directly to alleviate those losses and contribute to the sustainability of some of the newsrooms across Australia that need it most.”
Gippsland Times manager Bruce Ellen said the Facebook Journalism Project grant would provide the newspaper with a much-needed boost to enable it to run projects directly linked to providing quality journalism to local communities at a time when it was needed most.
The Latrobe Valley Express will also receive funding under the program.