Announcing $1 million in grants to support coronavirus news reporting

March 17, 2020

Submissions will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis — with winners being notified within a short window after applying – until funds are fully apportioned. Applications are now closed, effective March 20, 2020.

Today, the Facebook Journalism Project is partnering with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association (LMA) to offer a total of $1 million in grants to support US and Canadian local news organizations covering the coronavirus. These grants will help fill immediate gaps for resource-constrained newsrooms covering the impact of the coronavirus in their communities. 

Tapping into the Facebook Journalism Project Community Network grant pool, grants of up to $5,000 will be given to local newsrooms across the US and Canada to help cover unexpected costs associated with coronavirus reporting. These needs may include but are not limited to: tools to work remotely, increases in coverage to inform communities and to combat misinformation, and other costs associated with serving vulnerable and at-risk communities. A full list of eligibility requirements is included below.

“Journalists in local communities are working around the clock to ensure people have timely information to keep them safe,” said Campbell Brown, Vice President, Global News Partnerships, Facebook. “Lenfest and the Local Media Association will help us quickly provide support for this critical reporting.”

“Local news enterprises have responded with superb, real-time, comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, but many newsrooms are resource-constrained just when our communities need us most,” said Jim Friedlich from the Lenfest Institute of Journalism. “The grants announced today are designed to provide rapid-response assistance for the coverage of this fast-moving news story. Our focus is on need, speed and scope- helping as many news organizations as we can, as quickly as we can.”

“Covering coronavirus at the local level is a struggle for many small-to mid-size publishers who are already resource-challenged,” said Nancy Lane, CEO of Local Media Association. “These grants will go a long way to help them provide vital information to their communities. We are thrilled to be part of this program, and very grateful to the Facebook Journalism Project for funding this important work.”

Eligibility Requirements: 

  • Grants may be requested by for-profit or nonprofit local news organizations in the US and Canada
  • Grants may be requested by freelance individuals with established working relationships with a nonprofit or for-profit news organization in the US and Canada 
  • Submissions will be prioritized based on the following criteria:
    • Publishers who are serving and need resources for coverage focused on and/or for at-risk communities
    • Small publishers, including independent, family-owned and/or hyperlocal newsrooms
    • Organizations in need of tools to work remotely and cover the situation in a safe manner
    • Organizations looking to increase and/or expand their coverage to combat misinformation within their local communities 
  • Project proposals do not require the use of Facebook’s tools or platforms
  • Applicants agree that if they are awarded a grant, Lenfest, LMA and Facebook can use information provided in the initial application and subsequent reporting form to share lessons with other local news organizations
  • Grant applications must be submitted through the Lenfest Institute website during the open call period
  • News organizations are eligible for a single $5,000 grant. Priority is given to independent news sites that meet the stated criteria
  • Grant recipients agree to participate in a survey to capture results and feedback 

Sign up for the Lenfest Institute newsletter to learn more about future grant programs.

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