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Fifty-two news publishers and independent journalists will be awarded AU$5M in funding from the Meta Australian News Fund, in the latest round of a AUD$15M three-year investment in partnership with the Walkley Foundation. Now in its second year, the fund program has so far supported more than 100 eligible Australian-based newsrooms and journalists to foster innovation and improve public interest journalism in Australia.

This year’s successful recipients represent a diverse set of digital-first publications, and publishers that cater to underrepresented audiences such as culturally diverse, LGBTQI+, First Nation peoples, gender diverse, regional, rural, and economically disadvantaged communities and journalists working with a disability. The Walkley Foundation managed the judging process independently of Meta.


Among the 52 recipients are five organisations specialising in Indigenous Affairs, two projects focused on LGBTQI+ audiences, two science-focused publications, three that cover issues related to women and one that will place a journalist working with a disability in Parliament House, Canberra.

“After a successful first year, it’s great to see such a range of important and interesting projects focusing on diverse audiences – including those in rural and regional areas – securing funding in 2023,” Andrew Hunter, Media Partnerships lead for Meta Australia said.

“A new Indigenous youth news channel in language, the digitisation of LGBTQI+ masthead Star Observer’s photo archives, and a series exploring social issues in flood-affected Gympie are just some of the projects that have been awarded funding in this year’s second round. Through this fund and the thoroughness of the Walkley Foundation and its judges we will not only see these important stories emerge, but also a new set of digital transformation projects from news organisations across Australia,” Hunter added.

The Meta Australian News Fund is divided into two funds, the Digital Innovation Fund and the Public Interest Journalism Fund. Both are administered through our ongoing partnership with the Walkley Foundation, which nominated an independent external judging committee to review applications against the funds’ eligibility criteria, which included whether or not the project contributed to the news organisation’s long-term viability or provided a public benefit.

Walkley Foundation chief executive Shona Martyn said: “I am excited by the calibre and breadth of this year’s recipients. The judging process was considered and thorough with leading Australian journalists weighing up the strengths and benefits of a quality field of applicants. I am excited to see what these journalists and news organisations will achieve in the coming 12 months. Judging by the hard work and success of the 2022 recipients, I am confident that this funding makes a tangible difference for news organisations and consumers.”

The Digital Innovation Fund will allocate AU$2.5M, in grants of up to AU$250,000 to help newsrooms invest in digital and innovation projects that support economic sustainability.

The Public Interest Journalism Fund will also allocate AU$2.5M, providing grants of up to AU$120,000 to invest in the creation of public interest journalism by newsrooms and independent journalists to encourage media diversity.

In 2021, the Meta Australian News Fund in partnership with the Walkley Foundation awarded 54 newsrooms and independent journalists a combined AU$5M in funding. As a result of this funding, newsrooms and independent journalists have been able to launch innovation and sustainability projects and produce more public interest journalism. You can read more about the projects delivered from the first year’s funding recipients here.

Into the digital age

Digital archives feature heavily among the digital innovations proposed this year. Successful projects include an online story archive for LGBTQI publication the Star Observer, an image archive for AAP News, an online story archive for Greek language publication Neos Kosmos, and a user analytics dashboard for not-for-profit newswire 360Info. Photojournalist collective Oculi received funding for its pictorial investigation into Australia’s housing affordability crisis. 

“Oculi is grateful to The Facebook Australian News Fund and the Walkley Foundation for supporting our project ‘The Great Australian Dream’, that will examine the diverse and far reaching challenges faced by everyday Australians in securing affordable and secure long-term housing accommodation,” Sean Davey, a photographer at Oculi said.  

Over the next 12 months, Oculi will partner with National Shelter, its state and local affiliate organisations to tell stories of people who are affected by the housing crisis in Australia. “The Meta Australian News Fund’s support of this project is an acknowledgement that photojournalism still plays an integral role in the way we tell important stories in Australia,” Davey added. 

Regional newsrooms innovate

Regional newsrooms are innovating for the future with upgraded websites and content management systems, podcasts, video content, custom news apps and more. The funding program will bring rain to news deserts, with AAP News’ highly successful Project Petrichor receiving funding for the second year running for its carefully curated week-long reporting trips to remote parts of Australia. Start-up news publications will launch in Alice Springs, and in Gin Gin and Childers in North Queensland as a result of the program, helping to bridge some of the 32 local government areas without a print or digital news outlet as identified by the Public Interest Journalism Initiative. 

AAP’s Lisa Davies thanked the Walkleys and Meta for backing both projects with significant investments to benefit the whole media ecosystem. “We are delighted the fund has seen fit to support round two of our Petrichor project, which was hugely impactful and widely appreciated by both our subscribers and the remote and regional communities we visited.”

“The Meta News Fund funding will have a significant impact on our business over the next 12 months. Being able to hire another journalist to help report on the Lismore post-flood rebuild will allow us to cover more stories within our community so people not only get a clearer understanding of what is happening and when in terms of the rebuild but also to help promote our city in a positive light,” said Simon Mumford, managing director of NSW Local App company. 

Investing in public interest journalism

This year’s recipients proposed journalism projects spanning a range of pressing topics and issues, including Indigenous health and education, the housing affordability crisis, gendered violence, mental health and climate change. Three projects will chart the recovery and rebuilding of New South Wales and Queensland towns that were last year affected by devastating flooding events. 

Creating accessible public interest journalism for young people was a focus area for several publishers and broadcasters, including a new What’s On section for teens in Time Out, youth-focused news programming at ICTV and The Daily Educate, a news service for high school students proposed by the team at The Daily Aus. 

Judging process

The Walkley Foundation is independently managing Australian News Fund on behalf of Meta, and convened two judging panels composed of expert journalists and publishers from across the Australian media. The judges reviewed the applications over a six-week period then met to deliberate and decide which projects were most worthy of funding. Offers of partial funding to several projects allowed the program to fund more media organisations than anticipated. 

Digital Innovation Fund    
Hal Crawford Crawford Media
Rebecca Costello Schwartz Media
Natalie Ahmat NITV 
Monique Farmer SMH
Gaven Morris Former ABC News Director 
Stephen Brook Sunday Age
Elyse Popplewell The Oz, News
Public Interest Journalism Fund    
Monica Attard UTS Centre for Media Transition
Karina Hogan ABC Content producer, Qld
Anne Davies The Guardian
Ross Coulthart Seven
Annie White ABC
David Swan The Australian

For media enquiries, contact:

The Walkley Foundation

  • Kate Burgess at or 0402 479 499
  • James Gorman at or 0414 990 480



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