Social network giant Facebook has given $390,000 (R7m) to help SA news organisations hard hit economically by the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Covid-19 is likely to have had a negative effect on the revenues of media houses across the country. The industry, especially print, has seen a huge decline in advertising.

The “State of the Newsroom” report by Wits journalism department shows that the traditional, local media industry has struggled in recent years to keep the lights on with shifts in how advertisers are spending their money and from which platforms South Africans are getting their news.

“We will provide funding and training to support their coronavirus work and high-quality journalism across the country,” said Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) on Thursday.

Facebook said it will work with the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ), a non-profit organisation with a history of working with publishers across the world, to deploy the funds.

The plan will see ICFJ provide $140,000 to SA publishers, as well as a $250,000 video training programme for 10,000 journalists across Africa covering Covid-19 through video reporting.

Facebook has invested $100m to support the news industry globally during the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement, Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, strategic media partnerships manager of Facebook Africa, said: “The news industry is working under extraordinary conditions to keep people informed during the Covid-19 pandemic. As people turn to local journalists for critical information on how to keep their friends, families and communities safe, these journalists are affected especially in the current economic crisis.

“We’re working with our partners and the industry to understand their needs, which include support to help them continue creative, innovative and impactful storytelling.


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