SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. social media powerhouse Facebook Inc. Monday announced a donation of 6 million U.S. dollars to support local newspapers in Britain in the next two years.
The fund, which will be made available through the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), will help hire about 80 trainee journalists for local publishers including Newsquest, JPIMedia, Reach, Archant and the Midland News Association.
"The goal is to encourage more reporting from towns which have lost their local newspaper and beat reporters," Facebook said.
The financial commitment is part of the Community News Project launched by Facebook in partnership with the British publishers and overseen by the NCTJ in a two-year period.
Facebook said the official application process will open in early 2019 as the NCTJ and the British publishers will run promotional campaigns in UK universities across the country to recruit more young people for a career in journalism.
"The NCTJ cares deeply about the number, quality and diversity of journalists working in our local communities," said Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ.
"We are very proud to support the sustainability of quality local journalism by overseeing the recruitment of additional local news journalists from diverse and inclusive backgrounds and by ensuring they are properly trained and qualified," Butcher added.
Community news is shared widely on Facebook, on pages and in community groups, and "this collaboration will help us reach communities which don't currently benefit from in-depth community news," said Karyn Fleeting, head of audience at Reach PLC.
Keith Harrison, editorial director of the Midland News Association and Editor of the Express & Star, said the Express & Star has thrived on community news for more than 130 years.
"This collaboration with Facebook will enhance our service to readers by reaching out to communities that have important stories to tell," Harrison noted.
An earlier research by British Press Gazette showed that about 40 UK local newspapers were closed last year.