Frequently Asked Questions

Facebook Australian News Fund 2021 Round

Q: What do you define as public interest journalism? 

A: For the purposes of this funding program, public interest journalism is any content that records, investigates or explains issues of public interest or significance; is relevant in engaging citizens in public debate and informing democratic decision-making; and/or relates to issues or events of public significance at a local or regional level.

Q: My newsroom/publication does not primarily produce content that could be described as public interest journalism. Am I still eligible to apply for funding under this program?

A: Yes. Your newsroom can apply for funding from the Newsroom Sustainability Fund or the Public Interest Journalism Fund. 

For the Newsroom Sustainability Fund, your news organisation will need to demonstrate that the funding would be put towards a project that strengthens the long-term financial viability of your news organisation and/or has public benefit.

For the Public Interest Journalism Fund, your news organisation will need to demonstrate that your planned project will result in the creation of public interest journalism content. 

Q: What are examples of projects that could qualify for funding under the Newsroom Sustainability Fund? 

A: Funding will go towards innovation and revenue-generating projects that promote sustainable journalism and/or community benefit. Funds may be used for project costs including, but not limited to, technology, marketing and consultants. 

Q: What are examples of projects that could qualify for funding under the Public Interest Journalism Fund?

A: Public interest journalism reporting series, campaigns or other content produced (including multimedia) that records, investigates or explains issues of public interest or significance for the benefit of audiences and communities the organisation’s mastheads, digital platforms or broadcast channels inform and serve.

We are particularly focused on how the fund could provide support for underserved communities – such as Indigenous Australians, LGBTQI+ community, as well as organisations and independent journalists focused on youth and women’s issues, rural affairs and local civic journalism.

Q: Can funding be used for staff?

For the Public Interest Journalism Fund, additional part-time, casual and contract staffing costs are eligible for funding. Due to the fact that the Public Interest Journalism Fund will be awarding funds on a project basis, full-time employee (FTE) staffing costs are ineligible. For the Newsroom Sustainability Fund, funds can go to project funding costs, including technology, marketing and consultants but not staffing costs. 

Q: Can I receive funding for part of a project that also has funding from other sources?  

A: Yes you can. We ask in the budget that you identify what your other funding sources are.  

Q: Does my project need to be brand new or can it be already underway? 

A: It can be a project that has already commenced, however the funding received from the Facebook Newsroom Sustainability Fund must be applied to future activities that you describe in your application. Funds cannot be used retrospectively for initiatives your organisation carried out previously.

Q: Can I apply for both the Newsroom Sustainability Fund and the Public Interest Journalism Fund or make applications for more than one project for each fund? 

A: Each news organisation may apply for both the Newsroom Sustainability Fund and the Public Interest Journalism Fund if their projects meet the unique eligibility criteria for each fund, but can only make one funding application for an individual project per fund. Independent journalists may only apply for the Public Interest Journalism Fund.

Q: My organisation has previously applied for funding under other Facebook programs in the past three years. Can I still apply for a Facebook Australian News Fund grant?

A: Yes, you can apply as long as you meet all other eligibility criteria.

Q: What is the timeline for this funding round? When will applicants be notified if they qualify for funding? 

A: After applications close on November 26, judging panels will assess applications in December and January. The Walkley Foundation will notify successful applicants before the end of March 2022. A press release announcing the successful applicants will be issued shortly thereafter. 

Q: Who will judge the applications?

A: An independent, externally nominated judging committee, working with the Walkley Foundation, will review eligibility, criteria, deliverables and applications to determine final suitability.

Q: Will the funding be independent or will Facebook have a say in what publishers get awarded funding? 

A: The fund is independently administered by the Walkley Foundation. Facebook is not involved in the assessment of applications or the judging process. The Walkley Foundation will convene independent panels with relevant industry experience to assess the applications and award the funding against the stated eligibility criteria.  

Q:  Will everybody who applies receive funding?

A: No, this is a competitive application process.  We encourage those who meet the eligibility criteria to enter.  Applications will be assessed and prioritised that demonstrate a strong business case for their project or initiative, show how it can contribute to the sustainability of their organisation or that it will provide public benefit.