We’ve chronicled the demise of some traditional print media for years now, here, here, and here. We’ve noticed along with the rest of you about the shift to online and away from traditional yellow pages, newspapers, magazines and more. So it was with great interest when we heard that Facebook was investing $3 Million dollars and inviting a group of traditional publishers to discuss best practices around paywalls and monetizing their editorial efforts. The Adweek article “How Local Publishers Collaborated as Participants in Facebook’s Accelerator Program” discusses the program in its’ second year and some of the publishers who attended and found it valuable. Began in 2018 and scheduled for this year as well is a group of publishers that get together and compare best practices about paywalls and growing their digital business. Each publisher gets a grant of $200,000 to participate, but several publishers mentioned the sharing among themselves as the most valuable part of the experience.
After changing their algorithm in 2018 which reduced the content media, businesses and brands could share, Facebook must have realized that a healthy local news eco-system was critical.
Think about it… If local news isn’t created in local newsrooms and published, how will it be shared by millions of users to start and reinforce local conversations? If only national news is encouraged, than engagement around local issues and local businesses will suffer. Local news encourages local engagement. Local business benefits.
After some highly publicized mis-steps by Facebook in the last few years, the fact that they realize a healthy local news environment is important (and invest millions) should encourage SMB’s across the country.