Facebook donates $6 million to support local news in UK

'Community journalists' will be placed

By HADAS GOLD, CNN BUSINESS
Jim Castel via CNN

(CNN) - As Facebook faces increasing scrutiny for misinformation on its platform, its UK arm is looking to help bolster local reporting.

The social media site is donating £4.5 million pounds (about $6 million) to the National Council for the Training of Journalists to launch the Community News Project, the company announced Monday. The fund will train around 80 "community journalists" placing them in local newsrooms around the United Kingdom for two year stints.

It's the first project of its kind by Facebook, a spokesperson told CNN Business, though Facebook has previously launched projects in the United States to help local news outlets increase their digital subscription rates and has previously donated to non-profit news organizations.

Local news has been in decline for years in the United Kingdom and the United States. Advertisers have shifted funds away from local papers, which have cut the number of reporters covering communities and important local issues that impact people's everyday lives.

"We recognise the important role Facebook plays in how people get their news today, and we want to do more to support local publishers," Nick Wrenn, Facebook's head of European, Middle East and Asia news partnerships and Sian Cox-Brooker, strategic partner manager said in a joint statement.

"Local newspapers keep people up to date on everything that's going on in a community, but also play a vital role in holding local councils and institutions to account," they added.

The program will focus recruiting trainees "from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds" and will start accepting applications in 2019.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ said the organization is "very proud to support the sustainability of quality local journalism by overseeing the recruitment of additional local news journalists from diverse and inclusive backgrounds and by ensuring they are properly trained and qualified."

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