Facebook launches a local news accelerator for publishers

Facebook is trying to play extra nice with local news publishers by putting $3 million behind the launch of the Local News Subscriptions Accelerator. The three-month pilot program will help 10 to 15 U.S.-based metropolitan news organizations gain more digital subscribers both on and off Facebook.

“We often talk to publishers about what the future of journalism looks like and local news publishers tell us that digital subscribers are critical to the long-term sustainability of their business,” Facebook Head of News Partnerships Campbell Brown wrote in a blog post. “We know Facebook is one part of the strategy to engage readers and ultimately drive paid subscriptions.”

This comes about a month after Facebook announced it would make it easier for people to see local news and other information that is relevant to where people live. At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “local news helps build community” and plays a vital role in ensuring time spent on Facebook is valuable.

So far, publishers like The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, The Seattle Times and others are participating in Facebook’s local news accelerator. Throughout the three-month program, local news publications will meet in person once a month with “digital subscription experts” to receive tips and tricks. Publishers also will participate in weekly trainings about digital subscriptions marketing.

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