Stepping Up Our Investment in News in the UK

Launching Facebook News in the UK in January 2021 and Extending Community News Project 

Today, we’re announcing new investments focused on journalism in the UK with the launch of Facebook News, a dedicated space for national and local news, coming in January 2021. With Facebook News, we will pay publishers for content that is not already on the platform, help publishers reach new audiences and bring more advertising and subscription opportunities. The first group of publishers featured in Facebook News in the UK includes Archant, Conde Nast, The Economist, ESI Media, Guardian Media Group, Hearst, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midland News Association, Reach, STV and others. 

These publishers are home to hundreds of the UK’s best known and most loved national and local news brands, including The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, The London Evening Standard, Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News, The Mirror, The Scotsman, STV and the Yorkshire Post amongst others. Facebook News will also include content from lifestyle brands such as Red, Harpers, Cosmopolitan, Wired, GQ, Glamour, Vogue and Tatler. We expect many more partners to join prior to launch.

Facebook News offers a mix of curated and personalised top stories to deliver informative, reliable and relevant news. Readers see the top headlines and stories of the day alongside news personalised to their interests. During major news cycles, Facebook News provides timely news digests, highlighting original and authoritative reporting on pressing topics. Facebook News also helps people discover new topics and stories based on the news they read, share and follow. 

The UK launch in January will build on the success Facebook News has seen in the US, where we’ve found more than 95% of the traffic Facebook News delivers to publishers is new audiences that have not interacted with those news outlets in the past. 

Facebook is committed to supporting news organisations as they adapt to the changing digital world, and we are delighted to have so many partners working with us at this early stage. We’re in active negotiations to bring Facebook News to France and Germany as well, and we will continue to work with publishers in countries where market conditions and regulatory environments invite this kind of investment and innovation.

Zach Leonard, Chief Executive, The Independent commented:

“Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at The Independent, from moving to digital-only in 2016, to becoming Britain’s largest quality digital news brand, with an average monthly global audience of 101m unique browsers. We are delighted to extend The Independent’s longstanding strategic partnership with Facebook through the UK launch of Facebook News, helping to bring high-quality and trustworthy news to its UK users.”

David Higgerson, Chief Audience Officer, Reach PLC (150 news brands including The Mirror, the Express, Daily Star, Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo, Birmingham Mail, Bristol Post and Daily Record) said:

“We welcome the introduction of the Facebook News Tab in the UK as a sign of Facebook’s commitment to ensuring that accurate, well-researched journalism is given prominence on its platform.”

Bobby Hain, Managing Director, Broadcast at STV said:

“STV News is one of the most trusted sources of news in Scotland. Millions of Scots rely on our programmes and digital platforms to keep them up-to-date and informed. We are delighted to be a launch partner for Facebook News and to be delivering relevant, reliable and engaging Scottish content to users of this innovative new service.”

UK Community News Project Extended

Throughout the global pandemic the need for reliable, authoritative local news has proven more important than ever. For the past two years, Facebook has trained 80 journalists across the UK covering communities traditionally underserved by news media through the $6M/£4.5M Community News Project (CNP). Now we are pleased to announce a year long extension to the CNP with an additional $3M/£2.25M to support local journalism. 

The pilot program enabled the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) to oversee the recruitment of more than 80 trainee community journalists and place them in nearly 80 local newsrooms. The NCTJ and publishers focused on finding trainees from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds to reflect the diversity of the local communities they serve. In fact, at least 68% of the reporters hired in the pilot program, met one or more of the diversity criteria being measured. To date, the journalists in the CNP have collectively produced hundreds of front pages and 80% of reporters have achieved print front page bylines or homepage leads within three months of starting in their post.

The extension means just over half of the existing cohort, who came in as trainees to study for the Diploma in Journalism, could be in line for an additional year of training. Those trainees will work towards the senior level National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ). Meanwhile, dozens of new reporters will be recruited to train in some of the UK’s leading newsrooms as they study for NCTJ qualifications.

More information on the CNP extension can be found here.