Facebook expands local news accelerator to support publishers

• The Facebook Accelerator Program began in 2018 as a three-month pilot program in the United States

The Facebook Journalism Project is expanding the Local News Accelerator program to Australia and New Zealand. Launched in partnership with the Walkley Foundation, program will convene 11 publishers from September to December in Sydney, and support their efforts to boost direct reader revenue through subscriptions, memberships, and one-off payments.

Facebook’s news partnerships lead ANZ, Andrew Hunter, said the Accelerator provides platform-agnostic training, coaching, and project funding for news organizations to connect with – and monetise – their audiences on and off Facebook.

Participating publishers include News Corp, Australian Community Media, The Guardian, The Conversation, Crikey, The West Australian, The New Daily, Schwartz Media, and New Zealand publishers The New Zealand Herald, The Spinoff, and Newsroom.

The Facebook Accelerator Program began in 2018 as a three-month pilot program in the United States to work with metro newspapers to elevate their digital subscription business strategies. Building on the success of previous Accelerators in North America, Latin America, and Germany, the Australia and New Zealand Accelerator will take place in two parts.

The first stage will be a three-month curriculum of hands-on workshops led by news industry experts and global media leaders, who will share best-in-practice reader revenue strategies and tactics.

Louisa Graham

New publishers will also be invited to face-to-face meetings at Facebook’s Sydney office. In the second stage, each publisher will receive funding to test and implement new reader revenue strategies that they will develop with coaches. Grants will be administered by the Walkley Foundation.

“The Walkley Foundation is committed to fostering resilience and growth in the industry in practical, measurable ways,” said Louisa Graham, chief executive of the Walkley Foundation. “Facebook’s Accelerator Program is designed to support Australian newsrooms in maximizing new revenue streams. This will ultimately allow news organizations to continue their important work and report on the issues that matter to Australian society.”

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