Facebook selects 25 journalists to be paid $ 5 million as part of the recruiting push for the bulletin newsletter

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Facebook has selected 25 “local” independent journalists to be paid out of a $ 5 million (about 40 crores) pot to write bulletin through multi-year deals for its newsletter site, the company told Reuters on Thursday.

Facebook launched Bulletin in June as a standalone newsletter subscription service with free and paid articles and podcasts. It’s the social media giant’s attempt to survive in the booming email newsletter trend spearheaded by companies like Substack.

Facebook previously announced about 40 authors in its bulletin and says that there will be more than 100 on the platform “by fall”. A spokeswoman did not want to say how many subscribers the bulletin currently has.

The company, which announced in April that it would prioritize its “local” news investments for bulletin reporters working in news deserts and dealing with colored communities, said the authors selected also include those who are immigrant communities in Atlanta, climate issues in the coastal plain of North Carolina and Insights handle from Latin business executives in Florida.

The Facebook spokeswoman said Bulletin’s new “local” writers, covering areas in more than a dozen US states, are some of the first to monetize their Bulletin content through payboards. She said the writers would keep all of their subscription income from these partnerships.

High profile reporters and writers have left major media companies in the past year to post their work on sites like Substack and Medium, which have thousands of content creators and paying subscribers.

Twitter, which, like Facebook, is introducing new features for YouTubers to build audiences and make money on its social media site, took over the Revue newsletter platform in January. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the launch of a test Thursday that would allow users to click directly from people’s Twitter profiles to subscribe to Revue newsletters.

The “local” journalists for the Bulletin were selected through an application process in which Facebook worked with the International Center for Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Facebook said the writers have access to an intensive course for journalists aiming to build a sustainable independent business.

The world’s largest social network has long had a strained relationship with the news industry. The company says it has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the sector over the past few years, though critics argue that these posts barely compensate for the revenue that the publishers have lost as large tech companies have engulfed the digital ad market.

In February, after a showdown with the Australian government over paying news outlets for content, Facebook pledged to invest $ 1 billion (approximately Rs 7,442 billion) in the news industry worldwide over the next three years.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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