Facebook Australian News Fund

The Walkley Foundation is managing the Facebook Australian News Fund, a $15 million funding program spread over three years to invest in public-interest journalism, and support small, regional and digital newsroom innovation and economic sustainability. To learn more about how the fund fits into the global Meta Journalism Project, read this blog post.

In the 2021 round, The Foundation appointed an external judging panel composed of industry experts to review applications against the program’s eligibility criteria and select successful recipients. 

The Foundation has previously worked with Facebook managing both the News Accelerator and Covid Relief programs. We bring to this project our proven administration skills in distributing grants, and convening panels of journalists to ensure the assessment of applications is fair and independent of stakeholder interests.

About the program

The $15 million is between two funds; The Newsroom Sustainability Fund and The Public Interest Journalism Fund over three years

The Public Interest Journalism Fund will allocate up to $2.5 million by awarding funding of up to AU$120,000 to invest in public interest journalism, support small, regional/rural newsrooms as well as newsrooms/journalists covering under-served communities, and to encourage media diversity. A minimum of eighteen projects may receive funding under this program.

The Newsroom Sustainability Fund will allocate up to $2.5 million by awarding grants of up to $250,000 to fund newsroom products and revenue-related projects. A minimum of nine projects may receive funding under this program.

How to apply

Applications for the 2021 round have now closed. The 2022 round will open for applications later in the year. Eligible Australian-based news organisations may apply to the Newsroom Sustainability Fund. News organisations and independent journalists may apply to the Public Interest Journalism Fund if they meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the Terms & Conditions. Applications will be competitively assessed against criteria that prioritises either public benefit and/or sustainability for their organisation. 

News organisations that have applied for funding under previous Facebook programs (including the Covid-19 relief fund and Accelerator programs over the past three years) may apply for either or both funds. 

To understand more about the eligibility criteria, refer to our Frequently Asked Questions

Applications for the 2021 round closed on November 26. Funding was awarded to 54 successful applicants in March 2022. 

The successful projects

The 54 projects funded by the Facebook Australian News Fund reveal an insightful snapshot about the state of public interest journalism in regional Australia and for migrant and specialist audiences. Dozens of projects also illustrated first-hand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on newsrooms in regional Australia. But amid the closures and cutbacks, they also revealed a new wave of media entrepreneurs committed to taking advantage of the shift to digital technology that the pandemic has accelerated. 

The full list of funding recipients for the Facebook Australian News Fund:

Newsroom Sustainability Fund

Organisation name Project description
2SER Content publishing and fundraising platform restructure
Australian Associated Press Direct to business and government newswire
Bundaberg Today Women in Agriculture lift-out
Cairns Local News Cairns Local News digital transition
Galah Press NSF Membership model launch where subscribers inform the editorial agenda
Indian Link Media Group Website rebrand and expansion of digital content
IndigenousX 10-year anniversary re-brand, studio and office equipment
South Burnett Today (South West Queensland Leader) South West Queensland Leader launch
National Indigenous Times First Nations Images Library
Newcastle Weekly Newcastle Weekly website overhaul
Star News Group Pilot project for hyperlocal e-newsletter service
North West Farmer publication and website North West Farmer publication and website
Papers & Publications Pty Ltd Launch of Fleurieu Newsmedia, a new newspaper fo the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia
Pro Bono Australia Pro Bono News paid subscriber model
Region Group Pty Ltd “MoJo” mobile journalism equipment – cameras, smart phones and remote reporting software
Central Queensland Media Re-launch the Longreach Leader
Shepparton Newspapers Pty Ltd Launch of a custom news app
TBW Today Pty Ltd Re-launch the South Eastern Times
Australian Jewish News News app, article archive and content partnerships 
The Daily Aus Reader polling technology 
The Illawarra Flame Merger of three print services into single digital/print edition
Shepparton Adviser The Shepparton Adviser digital audience strategy
Wimmera Mallee News Pty Ltd Virtual Editorial Portal with automatic article uploading

Public Interest Journalism Fund

Organisation name Project description
2SER Re-launch of Razor’s Edge, a Sydney-based current affairs show
Australian Associated Press Journalists and photographers will be sent on a series of carefully planned, week-long news-gathering missions in remote locations. 
Blank Gold Coastnjbfbitenhutdvievhjkivhbukdhjeeb Boosting online output, social media and coverage of women
Burdekin Local News Newsroom expansion with two part-time journalists
Cairns Local News Editorial Funding a cadet journalist placement
Catherine Scott Trafficking jam: a featured documentary and TV streaming series about the impact of anti-trafficking laws on sex workers around the world.
Coonabarabran Times: local people, local news Hire a part-time Indigenous affairs reporter
Diamond Valley Enterprises Part-time journalists for the High Country Herald and the Western Downs Town and Country
Ethnic Broadcasting Association Queensland t/a Radio 4EB Creation of radio, podcast and in-language explainers for non-English speaking audiences.
Pakenham Gazette Family violence news project – a monthly liftout and web article series
First Nations Media Australia Indigenous stringer journalist network
Harry Clarke – Country Caller Expanding the Chinchilla-based news service into Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
Ian Kenins Small towns at the post-Covid crossroads and other long form projects
IndigenousX Public Interest Journalism Fund Debunking video series aimed at mythbusting commonly-held misconceptions about Indigenous people.
John van Tiggelen Various long-form journalism projects, including series of long-form reports including a detailed study of regional communities recovering from Covid-19 
Ninti Media Kangaroo Island timber plantation controversy
Murray Bridge News Telling the Murraylands’ stories – issues-based reporting on poverty and the housing crisis
National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council (NEMBC) National Multilingual News Service
National Indigenous Times National Indigenous News remote stringer journalist network
Navin Sam Regi Royal Commission into Aged Care report
PRIMER Hiring a violence against women reporter
Roundbox Media Connecting Rural Communities – research and interview local farming groups and produce online and video content
Rural Review Expanding news coverage to all of southern Queensland
Saltgrass Podcast Develop a marketing and subscription plan to allow it to produce more content, particularly the impact of climate change on local communities 
Susanna Freymark The expansion of hyperlocal digital service, IndyNR
Western Plains App Combined app for several local newspapers and radio stations
The Express Part-time hire of a cadet journalist
Truepenny Media The Point News Site for reporting on environmental, social and governance issues
The Royal Institution of Australia “Green Light” reporting series on how climate change is affecting four industry sectors
The Shepparton Adviser Funding a part-time journalist
Caroline Winter The Vet Reset: An industry as sick as a dog