On 31 January, 52 publishers were 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.

Public Interest Journalism Fund 
360info Website with tools for newsrooms to deliver visual storytelling
Arts Hub Australia Pty Ltd A five-month pilot program to build a national network of 21 freelancers.
Australia India Media Group Pty Ltd RIVR – a social-focused news service for the young South Asian community.
Australian Associated Press Ltd A series of carefully planned, week-long reporting trips into the news deserts of remote Australia.
Australian Science Media Centre Mainstream newsrooms are matched with groups of scientists to explore climate change, chronic pain and more.
Blank Gold Coast Pty Ltd Remarkable Stories’ series – up to 12 public interest items about women and non-binary folk covering rurual, youth, family violence and gender diversity.
Boonah Newspaper Co Digital products, including a newsletter and hire of two new journalists
Bundaberg Media Pty Ltd News coverage for Gin Gin and Childers, two QLD towns without a local news source.
Chinese News and Media Group Website expansion, app upgrade and a new dedicated video page.
Country Caller Hire of a part-time journalist
Declassified Australia Growth funding for Declassified Australia, including a podcast and funding for editors and an IT specialist.
Freelance Reporting on educational system issues in the Northern Territory.
Freelance / Caddie Brain Reporting series on surveillance of incarcerated Indigenous people in remote Australia.
Gilgandra Newspapers Pty Ltd Hire of journalists to report on local government and civic matters.
Gympie Today Pty Ltd Reporting of flood-related social issues including housing and mental health.
Indigenous Community Television Youth-focused news content for Indigenous youth-based channels. ‘
Lismore App Pty Ltd Hire of a part time journalist to cover flood rebuild and other civic issues.
Murray Bridge News Hire of a part-time journalist and the coverage of topical issues in the local region.
National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council (NEMBC) Multilingual National News Service – 4-minute news bulletins in languages other than English.
National Indigenous Times Launch of the NIT’s Lifestyle section and the hire of a Section Editor.
OCULI.COM.AU 12-month photographic investigation into the causes of Australia’s national housing crisis
Phoenix Group Of Newspapers, The Mobile apps for each of the Phoenix newspapers
RPH Australia Co-operative Opportunities for people with a disability to gain employment in the media sector.
SCMH Enterprises Expanding the reporting team with the hire of a part-time graduate and two freelance journalists.
Seesaw Magazine Incorporated Boost editorial team’s hours including a new journalist and sub-editor, and an increase in arts policy coverage
Shepparton Newspapers River Yarns’ project using freelance writers, video producers and photographers
Star News Group Pty Ltd Mental health article series
The Local Publishing Group Pty Ltd “Writing the Rainbow” – Boosting LGBTQIA coverage of local issues
The Royal Institution of Australia Extension of last year’s Greenlight Reporting series – an editorial team reporting on climate resilience in regional Australia.
Two Birds Media Pty Ltd Hire of a part-time reporter to cover Gendered Violence
Western Sydney Publishing Group The Dharug Connection is a print and digital project about Penrith’s Indigenous history.
Women In Media Article series for Women In Media on gender equality.
Digital Innovation Fund
360info Customised user analytics dashboard
Adelphi Printing Pty Ltd as Trustee for the Paton Family Trust Cloud-based editorial system upgrade
Australian Associated Press Ltd AAP Photos digital asset management system
Cape York Weekly Pty Ltd New online news platform and social media integration
Ethnic Publications Pty Ltd (trading as Neos Kosmos) Digital story archive for Neos Kosmos
Graziher Publishing PTY LTD Digital platform and subscription paywall
Maryborough Regional Newspapers Upgrade news website to boost audience engagement and social media integration
Monaro Media Group Newsroom editorial system upgrade
National Indigenous Times News Pty Ltd NIT Multimedia, Videography and Podcasting Initiative
NSW Local App Company Pty Ltd Umbrella app combining four local news brands
Out Publications P/L Digital archive of the Star Observer
Paradigm Shift Media Pty Ltd Collective community-funded public interest journalism project
Print & Digital Publishing Pty Ltd New youth-focused What’s On website
Region Group Pty Ltd “The Hoot” regional-focused podcast
TBW Today Pty Ltd New news website for Alice Springs
The Daily Aus Holdings Pty Ltd “The Daily Educate” online explainer portal for secondary school-age students
The Fold Media Pty Ltd National expansion of “The Fold”‘s lifestyle content to rural and regional Australia
The Royal Institution of Australia Audio-described voice news and feature stories
Warragul Regional Newspapers Pty Ltd Develop a digital content and audience strategy
Wimmera Mallee News New online news platform and editorial system

About the Meta Australian News Fund

The Walkley Foundation independently manages the $15 million Meta Australian News Fund on behalf of Meta. Run over three years, we oversee a selection of successful projects using a rigorous judging process led by industry experts.

The funding program aims to foster digital innovation and improve public interest journalism in the Australian media, and is part of the global Meta Journalism Project. In 2022, the Year 2 funding program is being offered in two streams:

  • The Digital Innovation Fund (“DI Program”) will allocate up to $2.5 million by awarding news organisations funding of up to $250,000 to fund digital and innovative newsroom projects that support the sustainability of the business.
  • The Public Interest Journalism Fund (“PIJ Program”) will allocate up to $2.5 million by awarding funding of up to $120,000 to news organisations or individuals to create public interest journalism that encourages media diversity.

In 2022, preference was given to projects which:

  • Serve underrepresented audiences including but not limited to: culturally diverse, LGBTQI+, First Nation peoples, gender diverse, regional or rural and economically disadvantaged communities
  • Are digital-only publications
  • Involve journalists working with a disability

In addition to the above, media organisations focusing on “lifestyle” topics such as the arts, travel and food were considered as fund recipients. Applicants who have received funds in prior years were able to apply for Year 2 funding.

Applications for the 2022 program opened on September 7 at 8am AEST and closed on October 9. Entries were subject to the following Terms and Conditions.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for either fund, applicants must:

  • Be an Australian-based media organisation with its primary business being the creation of news or informative content;
  • Have demonstrated business operations for a minimum of one year prior to applying to the Program (based on objective measures such as corporate filings and business name registrations);
  • Have a minimum of two full-time journalism staff (or the equivalent) unless you are applying as an individual journalist;
  • Publish informative content regularly through a digital channel such as a website, newsletter or social platform;
  • Not have a content licensing agreement in place with Meta for Facebook News or video; and
  • Be able to contribute to a Meta case study and other marketing initiatives with Meta.

For individual journalists applying to the PIJ fund only:

Entrants must be independent journalist(s) working primarily in Australia and must be either Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Additional eligibility criteria apply to both media organisations and independent journalists. Please read the full TERMS & CONDITIONS before applying.

Terms & Conditions

More about the program

The Meta Australian News Fund is a $15 million funding program spread over three years, and is managed by the Walkley Foundation on behalf of Meta.

In 2021, the Meta Australian News Fund provided $5 million of funding to 54 projects, including the following successful initiatives:

And the following initiatives which are underway:

Testimonials

RiotACT’s news app and “MoJo” video production kits

Region Media journalist Claire Fenwicke captures a glass blowing factory in action on her MoJo kit. Image supplied

Canberra-based publisher Region Group received funding for “MoJo” kits consisting of smartphones, production field kits and editing software to enable journalists to shoot, edit and publish video content while reporting in the field.

The Editor of Region’s flagship publication RiotACT, Genevieve Jacobs, said the MoJo kits have greatly enhanced the publication’s ability to convey breaking news to its 687,000-strong audience.

“Video tells stories text can’t. It captures the emotion and excitement of events, the anger and fear or confusion of urgent news. Speedy, simple video production for social media spreads those stories far and wide, fast,” Jacobs said.

“As a digital only platform, video and social content are a critical part of our news mix. Readers need content that’s accurate, accessible and created on the spot. Social media energises and amplifies our strong news stories and creates community conversations that bring us together.”

 

AAP News’ remote region news reporting

Indigenous elders in Far North Queensland. Image supplied by AAP and Jono Searle.

AAP journalists travelled to remote western Cape York to hear the stories of Indigenous elders, mining bosses, scientists, elected officials, police officers and artists. The trip was part of a series of fact-finding missions to remote parts of northern Australia as part of “Project Petrichor” – which translates to “The Smell of Rain”. The funding provided a unique opportunity to tell stories from a region underserved by local media.

“Western Cape York is where Europeans and Indigenous Australians made first contact in 1606, and that intense story is yet to be resolved. Telling local stories will introduce Australia to the diverse region’s inspirational peoples, and its troubled history, and trigger fresh debates about its future, which have largely been ignored or suppressed by powerful outsiders,” said AAP Queensland Chief of Staff Martin Silk.

For enquiries about the program please email walkleys@walkleys.com