Despite the rising need of verified, trusted information through this pandemic, newsrooms are no exception to the COVID-19 crunch. Just last month in Malaysia, Blu Inc Media shut down after a 46-year run. Earlier in Thailand, Kom Chad Luek announced cessation of its operations. Over in Australia, Bauer Media announced that it was suspending the printing of “certain titles” as the virus continues to impact their local advertising industry.
In the face of flagging profits, and in the spirit of helping publishers address immediate and critical business needs, the Facebook Journalism Project is announcing a $2 million investment in grant funding, coaching, and training to support Asia-Pacific news organizations’ COVID-19 stories. The following initiatives enables media outfits to receive funding and business support:
- Redirection of a portion of the Splice Beta Fund to aid more than 50 news organizations’ business operations.
- Administration of a financial support program for news publishers in Australia and New Zealand through The Walkley Foundation.
- Partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) to offer a combination of grants, webinars, and professional mentorship.
- Launch of a virtual edition of its Reader Revenue Accelerator grant and training program to strengthen reader revenue strategies.
Journalists are also joining remote training sessions across the region. The Project has restructured WAN-IFRA’s Newsroom Transformation 2020 into a five-month Newsroom and Business Transformation 2020 online curriculum. More than a thousand media professionals across the region have also joined a Digital Media Bootcamp: COVID-19 Edition to learn Covid-19 coverage best practices for products.
Co-founder & CEO of Splice Media Alan Soon said, “It’s important that news orgs not only survive, but are in a stronger position when COVID-19 passes. The funds that the industry is gathering and distributing are key if we’re to build more sustainable and more relevant media next year.”
“Asian newsrooms were the first in the journalism field to feel the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Johanna Carrillo, ICFJ’s vice president of programs. “With this new grant from the Facebook Journalism Project, we can build on our work together helping newsrooms and publishers in the region at this difficult time.”