Meta Australian News Fund Eligibility Criteria and Terms & Conditions 2022

Entries open 9am AEST on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, and close at 5pm on Friday, October 7, 2022 AEDT (Entry Period).

The 2022 Meta Australian News Fund includes two funds that the Walkley Foundation will independently manage, and are known as the:

  • Public Interest Journalism Fund (“PIJ Fund”)
  • Digital Innovation Fund (“DI Fund”)

The Public Interest Journalism Fund (“PIJ Fund”) will allocate up to AU$2.5 million by awarding funding of up to $120,000 to invest in the creation of public interest journalism by newsrooms/journalists and to encourage media diversity. Media organisations and independent journalists are each eligible to apply for a single amount of up to $120,000.

The Digital Innovation Fund (“DI Fund”) will allocate up to $2.5 million by awarding funding of up to $250,000 to fund digital and innovative newsroom projects that support the sustainability of the business. Media organisations are each eligible for a single amount of up to $250,000.

Applications should be made by media organisations or journalists most directly responsible for the publication/masthead undertaking the project. Parent companies may apply on behalf of one or more organisations, however, they must disclose this clearly in their application.

Applicants who are eligible for both funds may apply to both funds. Only one application is permitted per fund. Applicants who received funding in a previous year of the Australian news Fund are eligible for funding, but they must disclose if they have previously received funding from the Facebook/Meta Australian News Fund and detail the results driven by the previous funding.

In addition to the terms and conditions, successful applicants will be required to enter into separate contracts with the Walkley Foundation for the provision of the funding.

Eligibility criteria

The eligibility criteria apply to both the PIJ Fund and the DI Fund. To apply for funding, an applicant must:

  • Be an Australian-based media organisation with its primary business being the creation of news or informative content;
  • For the PIJ Fund only, entrants may also be independent journalist(s) working primarily in Australia; journalists must be either Australian citizens or permanent residents.
  • 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);
  • Be able to contribute to a Meta case study and other marketing initiatives with Meta;
  • Have a minimum of two full-time journalism staff (or the equivalent) unless you are applying as an individual journalist.
  • Publish news content regularly through a digital channel such as a website, newsletter or social platform; and
  • Not have a content licensing agreement in place with Meta for Facebook News or video. For the avoidance of doubt, applicants that have other funding arrangements in place with Meta, or that have been provided funding through an affiliation or industry body distributing on behalf of Meta, are eligible provided they also meet the other eligibility criteria.

Terms & Conditions

These terms apply to both the PIJ Fund and the DI Fund.

  • Full-time employee staffing costs will not be funded in either program. For the PIJ fund only, part-time, casual and contract staffing costs, as well as the extension of hours of current part-time staff are eligible for funding.
  • Consultants may be funded for projects in both the PIJ and the DI Programs.
  • Preference will be given to applicants that: 
  • (A) serve underrepresented audiences, including but not limited to LGBTQI+, Indigenous, regional or rural, economically disadvantaged, culturally diverse and or gender diverse audiences; 
  • (B) are digital-only publications; or 
  • (C) are journalists working with a disability. 
  • For the avoidance of doubt, eligible media organisations focusing on “lifestyle” topics such as the arts, travel and food will be considered.
  • Trade and contract publishing titles are not eligible to apply.
  • We encourage applications from media organisations that publish in languages other than English, but their applications must be in English.

Applications

To enter, eligible applicants must (during the Entry Period from 8am on September 7, to 5pm on October 7) submit to the Walkley Foundation (online via the link at the bottom of these terms) a completed application form. As part of their application, applicants will also be required to provide:

  • A registered Australian Business Number;
  • For organisations, their most recent audited financial statement
  • For individual journalists, audited accounts or a verified business plan (see above)
  • The name of a parent organisation, if applicable;
  • Applicants must confirm that they abide by the MEAA Code of Ethics
  • A detailed budget of their project; and
  • Any other requirements as indicated on the application forms

Applications must:

  • Be in the English language. Any submissions as part of the application in languages other than English must be submitted with an English translation;
  • Publish news content regularly through a digital channel such as a website, newsletter or social platform;
  • Not discriminate based on race, gender, faith, national origin, sexual orientation or disability in accordance with current Australian legislation;
  • Not include propaganda; and
  • Not be editorially directed by any government or government agency.

Applications may include funding requests for projects already underway or part-funded by other entities including the applicant, provided that funding under the PIJ or DI Funds cannot be awarded retrospectively.

Applicants must disclose if they have previously received funding from the Facebook/Meta Australian News Fund and detail the results driven by the previous funding.

Each applicant grants the Walkley Foundation and Meta a non-exclusive license to use any intellectual property rights in their application for the purpose of promoting and conducting the Meta Australian News Fund.

Applicants will be asked to share detailed a circa 300-word outline of their project containing non-confidential information that can be shared publicly by Meta and/or the Walkley Foundation. The outline should include a list of the main project activities with clear descriptions for each.

There are no entry application costs.

Applications will not be accepted after the end of the Entry Period. Applicants are required to complete and answer all sections of the application. Incomplete applications will immediately be disqualified.

For individual journalist applicants only:

  • Individuals may only apply for the PIJ Fund.
  • If audited accounts are not available, a business plan signed off by an appropriately qualified referee must be supplied.
  • Must provide examples of at least two articles, programs or podcasts published in the past 12 months.
  • Must include a verification/ referee as part of their application.

Assessment criteria – for both funds

Eligible applications will be assessed, and funding recipients will be selected, according to the following additional assessment criteria:

  • Whether the applicant has provided a clear and compelling description of how funds will be used for the intended purpose;
  • The organisational need and the clarity of the applicant’s budget proposal;
  • For the DI Fund, how the funds will support innovation and for the PIJ Fund, how the funds will support public interest journalism;
  • The applicant’s prior journalism practice, using measures such as the quality of previous work published, and audience engagement metrics provided in their application;
  • Consideration of resources available to the applicant.
  • How project resources, including staffing and technology investment, will achieve project outcomes;
  • Preference will be given to applicants who effectively demonstrate how their work caters to their specific audience, particularly digital-only publications which serve an otherwise underrepresented audience.

The receipt of funds in prior years may be a factor in considering funding for recipients in future years but will not preclude recipients from funding across multiple years.

Applicants who fail to fully acquit their funds will not be eligible for funding in future years. Applicants will need to share the impact of previous funding received in their application.

Applications will be assessed and judged by an independent panel with the relevant industry expertise, as selected by the Walkley Foundation.

Judges will have the right to reject an application which in their opinion does not comply with these terms and conditions.

The judges’ decisions will be final.

Conflict of interest disclosures will apply to all judges.

Successful funding recipients

The Walkley Foundation will notify successful applicants on or before March 30, 2023.

Successful applicants must use the funds awarded to them in accordance with their budgets, and only for the purposes submitted in their application and/or approved by the Walkley Foundation, within 12 months from the date of receipt of the funding.

All successful applicants are required to submit acquittal reports to the Walkley Foundation that describe the use and impact of the funding within 60 days and 12 months of receipt of the funding. These reports will be shared with Meta.

All funds distributed to funding recipients are exclusive of GST. Each funding recipient is responsible for and must pay all taxes (including income tax and/or GST, as applicable), duties and government charges imposed or levied in Australia or overseas in connection with their use of the funds.

All successful applicants must have the project for which they are receiving funding financially audited by a licensed auditor, the cost of which can be included in their application.

Use of any funding amount must comply with all applicable explicit or implicit terms and conditions or policies applicable for platforms, applications, software, tools or other resources used by the fund’s recipient, if any.

Funding recipients must agree to pay journalists employed under this scheme at least the prevailing MEAA rate for freelance contributions or as staff costs (whichever is applicable).

Funding recipients must also comply with Meta’s Privacy Principles available at https://www.facebook.com/about/basics/privacy-principles and Facebook’s community standards https://transparency.fb.com/en-gb/policies/community-standards/.

Recipients must also abide by any ethical standards applicable to the proposed project, as determined in Meta and the Walkley Foundation’s sole discretion. As such, each applicant

must follow the spirit of such terms and conditions, principles and policies; and any attempt to subvert or to use a workaround of such terms and conditions or policies may, in Meta and the Walkley Foundation’s sole discretion, result in forfeiture of any funding amounts awarded or disqualification from this Program.

Each successful applicant agrees to enter into an agreement with the Walkley Foundation which includes these terms and any additional terms required by the Walkley Foundation (for example, in relation to reporting and accounting, or any compliance language required by Meta).

Other terms and conditions

Each applicant must comply with all applicable laws in relation to their participation in the PIJ Fund and/or the DIF Fund.

The Meta Australian News Fund is independently administered by the Walkley Foundation. Each applicant fully releases and waives Meta from any liability, however arising, in connection with these terms and conditions and the Meta Australian News Fund.

To the extent permissible by law, the Walkley Foundation’s liability is as expressly stated in this agreement and all other liability is excluded.

Each applicant must provide the Walkley Foundation with such information and reports, including financial information and reports, as the Walkley Foundation requests in connection with these terms and conditions.

The Walkley Foundation will treat all information provided by applicants, aside from the 300-word project outline, as confidential.

Each applicant indemnifies the Walkley Foundation against all liabilities, losses, damages, costs and expenses (including all legal costs, whether incurred or awarded) suffered or incurred by the Walkley Foundation in relation to any breach by the applicant of its obligations under these terms and conditions, except to the extent that the liabilities, damages, losses, costs and expenses are caused or contributed to by the negligence of the Walkley Foundation.

How to apply

All applications must be submitted through the online entry form CLICK HERE.

Applications must be completed online. NOTE: it is the responsibility of the applicant to answer all questions and provide all materials requested. Incomplete applications may disqualify the applicant.

If you have any questions or need help, please contact Kate Burgess, Professional Development Manager.

 kate.burgess@walkleys.com or call +61 402 479 499.